This Twitter character came to life in the “Reality: Being @spenserpratt” netprov, was christened “Tempspence” by Pratt’s followers (as a “temporary” Spencer), and lives on in this Twitter account, along with a community called The Tempspence poets. Their symbiotic existence was sustained by social media interactions of a group of people that came together through this netprov, and extended the life of the performance beyond its metaphorical covers.
When “Reality: Being @spencerpratt” ended and everything was revealed, Mark Marino and Rob Wittig did the Twitter equivalent of stepping from behind the curtain to bow and thank the audience, polling them for some of their favorite poetic constraints. The enthusiasm and pleasure in the interactions launched the Tempspence Poets and the poetry games continued in earnest for a while, with @Tempspence as moderator and communication bridge, but it has slowed down almost to a standstill. As participation waned, the authors seem to have concluded the story arc offering some closure by resolving Tempspence’s love dilemma even working in a crossover with “#sootfall.” For now, the character remains in Twitter, occasionally retweeting or participating in a conversation or two, perhaps awaiting a new storyline for him to return to activity.
This is at the heart of a networked improv fiction: a character existing beyond its scripted existence. Literature, film, television, and other media have many examples of characters appearing in multiple works and spinoffs abound, but this is an unforeseen improvisational extension of a performance of a character beyond the edges of a conceptualized work of fiction. Perhaps this could be framed as a coda or an encore to “Reality.” Perhaps this will be compiled, archived, and assigned a title as a kind of authorial retroactive continuity.
Note (March 30, 2013): I received a comment from Mark Marino that sheds some light on the character’s expanded existence:
I should mention that the Tempspence poets collectively run the @tempspence account with Rob Wittig & I. He’s like the Dread Pirate Roberts or the Pope, except rather than turning the name and role to one successor, we handed it over to the a group of bandits (fandits?) or church ladies, as the case may be.
Tempspence & the Tempspence Poets have evolved from symbiotic separate entities to a fused character, humming with potential. Let’s see what happens to the character in the near future.
In the meantime, the Web retains traces of their interactions, captured in Storify lists, Tumblr sites, and the short-lived Twitter archives. Here is a list of the games, as reported by Marino and Wittig in this article:
#prattplus7: replace each noun in a famous Spencer Pratt quote with the noun 7 later in the dictionary.
#twouplets: (Twitter couplets) rhyme your tweet with someone else’s.
#centode: Tweet about your boyfriend or girlfriend for a collective poem.
#shibboleth: type a tweet or post a doodle that people could use to prove it’s you.
#ekphrastic: describe yourself in a revealing picture
#imspencer: type a line you want to hear coming out of @spencerpratt’s mouth
#myccb: describe the people you live with as though they were the CBB housemates
#jungbro: describe your personality as made up of CBB participants
Read this Tumblr for more elaborate descriptions. It’s worth noting thatThe Tempspence poets continued with other poetry-generating constraints (some documented here), such as: #randompoem, Twitter Chain (“To play Twitter Chain #twain, help tell a new tale from Tempspence’s life. Each person contributes 1 sentence at a time…”), #saga, and who knows what else they’ll come up with.