Richard Vine: Mad Men obsessives Twitter away

Richard Vine: If the Twitterverse has so far passed you by, it's probably best described as a kind of mobile micro-blogging

"Glad that @joan_holloway caught me in the hall. @bobbie_barrett is in my office again. Sounds like a good time to head to the bar w/ Roger."

Can there be a more perfect modern moment than Mad Men Twittering? It's Web 2.0's stream of consciousness applied to the martini-fuelled milieu of Madison Avenue circa 1960. Fans of the excellent US period drama about ad execs have taken it upon themselves to translate the boozy office lives of Don Draper, Peggy Olson and Roger Sterling into a collection of Twitter feeds.

If the Twitterverse has so far passed you by, it's probably best described as a kind of mobile micro-blogging. Twitterers text thoughts to the Twitter site on anything from their latest sandwich to first impressions of Obama's speeches. If you like someone's Twitter (or actually know them in the offline world) you can choose to be one of their "followers" and you get an alert every time a new "tweet" is posted on their feed. The only rule is that all tweets must be 140 characters or less, creating a concise digital haiku form.

AMC, the US cable channel that produces Mad Men, initially tried to clamp down on fans taking their characters on these off-piste online adventures, asking Twitter to take the feeds down. But, perhaps in recognition of the added cultural cachet that comes when characters literally take on a life of their own, it has backed down and the Mad tweets are back up.

What is it about this show that produces such obsessive fandom? The Jossip blog is offended that it "dares use the shitty font Arial to spit out its closing credits". Arial, you see, wasn't invented until 1982.

Perhaps it's best to leave the final word on Mad Men Tweets to Don Draper himself (courtesy of a blog entitled What Would Don Draper Do? that works as a surreal in-character agony uncle service).

Dear Don Draper, what would you do if a television network discouraged the free advertising written by fans on a social networking site?

"This reminds me of yesterday: Salvatore mentioned something oddly loaded about a bird. I told him to get the door on his way out ..."


Richard Vine

The GuardianTramp

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