This Twitter based netprov collected under a title headed by the word “ballad” provokes thought on the relation between this fictional piece and this ancient poetic form. The ballad, a form rooted in oral tradition, was often about sensational, comic, and tragic events and served as a conduit for stories from one region or time to another. With the invention of print, the broadside ballad reinforced the tradition of spreading news in poetic form.
The fictional narrative of Workstudy Seth and how he took over Marino’s Twitter account was told during a 3-month period in 2009 and is compiled in a single HTML page— kind of a Web broadside. The language, though prosaic and loaded with netspeak, is governed by a 140-character per Tweet constraint, which leads to a poetic compression similar to that which governs many lines of verse. Sure, its meter isn’t governed by number of accents, syllables, or feet but it does have a shape, which leads to distinct ways to unfold the story.
Read each distinct voice as it shifts from one character to another and enjoy how the mischievous Seth refuses to be silenced.