We’ve seen Twitter haiku and short fiction, but last night user @AustinLugar on Twitter set up a murder mystery told entirely through tweets. You can read it here. It went live last night at 7PM EST, and I managed to catch the first part although I couldn’t stay around to see the conclusion.
I’ve seen a lot of buzz about this type of thing as a kind of “new fiction”, but it isn’t really. The murder mystery genre certainly isn’t anything new, and although it’s being adapted to a new medium, it bears many of the same qualities as, say, a radio program with many different voice actors.
When I look at things like this, that’s essentially what I see — an adaptation of an old form into something new. The ending was even a nice tip of the hat to the nature of the medium when the detective character said he was going to reveal the ending right there on Twitter because all of the suspects were following him anyway.
It’s gotten me to thinking about what genres can and cannot be adapted to a medium like Twitter. Some professional sports teams post what are essentially play-by-plays on their Twitter feeds, and there are even manuals out now for how to create Twitter novels. What about music? Could you adapt a musical composition to Twitter? Eric Whitacre created a virtual choir on YouTube, so what’s to stop someone from making a symphony in 140 characters or fewer?