So for a couple of years now, I’ve been a bit of a laughing stock in the geek community because I’m a luddite.
You see, I did not posses a smartphone. Neither did I have a twitter account.
This might not seem like a crippling social affliction, and most of the time it’s not. Most of the time I’m at home in Wisconsin, writing and hanging out with my little boy.
But then I go to a convention, like Origins, and while I’m there, I hang out with John Scalzi, Felicia Day, and Wil Wheaton. And while we’re playing games, someone snaps a picture. And then, when they’re posting it up online, someone looks at me and says “I’ll tag you here, What’s your twitter handle?”
And I say, “I’m not on twitter.”
Keep in mind who I’m hanging with here. Wil, John, and Felicia. If you added some sort of animal sidekick to this mix, I’m guessing they could join together and form a giant robot that would somehow defend the internet. The looks they give me are the worst sort of mingled pity and scorn….
Ah hell. I just realized *I’m* probably the animal sidekick in that group. I’m Lubar, the great shambling bear-man from the frozen tundra who is charmingly baffled by the subtle magic of the interweb.
Anyway, the point is that I’ve finally, *finally* taken the leap.
But that’s only the beginning. The phone itself isn’t enough. To really wire myself in, I know I need to get on twitter.
* * *
Part of the reason I want to get on twitter is because it will save me time. I tend to be… um…. wordy. Verbose even. Sometimes a blog that starts out as a simple announcement turns into a 500 word screed.
Twitter will help me reign that impulse in a bit. I’ll be able to mention things to y’all without feeling the obligation to make a meaty blog about them.
The other reason I need to get on twitter is to stay in better touch with my readers.
You see, I’m not a total technological schmendrick. I’ve been on facebook since before it was cool, and I’ve slowly built my army over there. For years I’ve used facebook to clue-in readers when I’m doing events, running contests, or going to conventions….
But these days Facebook deliberately throttles back the reach of most pages. These days I’m encouraged to “boost” my posts by giving facebook money. If I don’t boost the posts (and I never do) the things I write there only show up on *half* my reader’s news feeds.
It happens all the time. I schedule a signing in Boston. I post on facebook letting people know about my signing in Boston. I go to Boston. I get home and later that day I see someone howling on my wall “You Were In BOSTON!!??!?”
Twitter doesn’t have this problem. If you follow me on twitter, and I post something on twitter, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if it’s worth reading.
But here’s the problem. I don’t want to spend ages slowly building up my twitter following.
Also, you only get to lose your twitter virginity once.
My thought is, why not have a little fun with this?
My thought is, why don’t we play a little game?
* * *
So here’s what I’ve done.
I’ve created six twitter accounts, all versions of the name “Pat Rothfuss.”
I’ve recruited 5 members of the geek glitterati. Friends who are good with words. They’re witty, wired-in, and social media savvy.
Starting today, each of them will claim one of those accounts at random and do their best to convince the world they’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss.
They’ll connive and scheme. They’ll share links, twitter at you, and generally attempt to exude an aura of Rothfuss-y-ness.
I will take the sixth profile and attempt to do the same.
The contest will run for two weeks and finish on Halloween at midnight. Then everyone will vote on who they think the real Pat Rothfuss is.
The winner gets that most valuable commodity of all: Bragging Rights.
Even better, the winner will have 1,000 dollars donated to the charity of their choice. The prize money being provided by DAW Books, my lovely publisher.
I might also see if I can find a trophy of some sort.
- The Rules:
It should be blindingly obvious to everyone that I could win this game pretty easily. I could post up a selfie with today’s newspaper and that would be the end of it.
But what would be the fun in that?
The five other people who are playing are going to have to win through sheer cleverness, trickery, and guile. I plan on winning the same way.
What I’m getting at here, is that I’m looking to play a beautiful game. Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?
Aside from my self-imposed handicap, there are only two rules:
1. Players can change anything on their twitter profiles except for their pictures. Those will remain the same throughout the contest. Otherwise things would just be too confusing.
2. Stories about Oot are out of bounds.
You see, I love telling stories about my little boy: (Codename Oot.)
A lot of the stories I tell are funny, silly, or irreverent. For example, on facebook I recently shared how Oot spent 20 minutes running around shouting “Gangnam Style!” and dancing naked.
I shared the story because it’s funny, and because he has no sense of shame at this point in his life.
But the thought of someone *else* making up a story along those lines…. It creeps me out a little bit.
So. No Oot stories. He’s out of bounds.
That’s it though. Everything else is fair game.
- The Charities:
(Here’s a hint. I’m playing for my home team, Worldbuilders.)
If you want to know more about these charities, you can read some brief summaries over on the page where you can see all six twitter feeds at once.
Fair warning: We kinda threw this page together. If it gets hammered with 100,000 visitors in the next two days, it might crash.
So if you want to follow the contest, you might consider following all six of these accounts right now. That way you can watch the entire beautiful game without fear of tech glitches getting in the way.
As of right now, each profile is virtually identical except for its name and the profile picture. While the pictures will remain the same, (as per rule #1 above) the profiles will doubtless change as soon as the players take charge.
A careful observer will notice that each of the profiles has one tweet from Oct 14th saying, “I am the real Pat Rothfuss.”
A *very* careful observer will notice that that post is actually from Oct 14th 2012. That’s how long I’ve been planning to do this contest, but I’ve never managed to get around to it until now.
Because the profiles have been sitting around for a while, some of them have collected different numbers of followers.
I’m guessing that in the next couple days they’re going to get a few more….
In case you’d like it again, here’s a link to the page where you can see and follow all of the accounts.
P.S. Just now, minutes before we launch this blog, it has occurred to me that we should have some sort of official hashtag associated with it.
I consulted with my staff, and my twitter-smart assistant Amanda has confirmed that yes, this is a good idea.
What’s more, she has implied to me that this tag could even be used to ask a question of all the different accounts at the same time. Something along the lines of “If you’re the *real* Pat Rothfuss, what’s your favorite flavor skittle?”
And then you’d somehow… um… hash things. Together. I guess that’s another thing I’m going to have to figure out…
Anyway, how about we use #TheRealRothfuss. Using it all the time would would probably be cumbersome and cluttery. But now it’s there for people if they want it. (Sorry to make y’all use caps, but otherwise it looks too much like “There Al Rothfuss.” Which would be some other, entirely lamer game.)