There’s no denying the wonderfully wide (and sometimes weird) reach of Twitter – from messages from Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, to live tweets of the Republican presidential debates, to to-the-minute updates concerning Kim Kardashian’s whereabouts. Since the social networking phenomenon was founded in 2006, it has attracted well over 200 million users, who sign-in routinely to post their 140-character messages. It was precisely the scope and popularity of Twitter that so fascinated Gar Deady and Nigel Lane of Co. Kildare, Ireland, and led them to embark on a social media project called Diary of the Tweople.
Who are the “tweople?” The two Irishmen coined the phrase to describe the Twitter people. And hundreds of them – from Ireland and the U.S. to Australia and Russia – turned out via their computers and assorted wi-fi devices to participate in Lane and Deady’s Diary Day on June 3, submitting summaries of their days. “We had several excellent entries,” Gar told Irish America, “ranging from funny, to bizarre, to very serious. One entry simply said 'Shaving when drunk… dangerous game!' Another was from Justice for Magdalenes – a group of human rights activists and family members fighting for justice for the women who suffered abuse while living in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. Their entry centered around waiting on a decision from the UN Committee Against Torture."
Deady and Lane eventually whittled the entries down to 70, which have now been compiled into an e-book, complete with illustrations by Irish designer Rob Gale that incorporate the iconic Twitter bird. Diary of the Tweople, which is available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other e-book sellers, is more than an entertaining read, though. It’s a prime example of how social media is changing the way we record personal narratives. Each of the published entries contains a link to the author’s Twitter page, which allows readers to directly or indirectly follow-up with the writers. Thrilled with the results, Deady and Lane are already planning another Diary Day.