Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 2: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Social Media Content for Tim McLaughlin's "Notes Towards Absolute Zero"

As with Sarah Smith's King of Space, performing a Traversal of David's Socrates in the Labyrinth live, online, and using social media channels adds a participatory aspect to the existing Pathfinders Traversal model. By sharing their existence with a wide audience we are able to keep seminal works like Smith's and Kolb's alive in the scholarly conversation. This captures more of the depth and richness of the scholarly conversation surrounding these works and allows for recording the ensuing conversation for posterity. 

Following the approach we took for Smith's Traversal, the undergraduate researchers, the ELL faculty and staff, and David Kolb gathered in the lab. The undergraduate researchers had notes from their research and from Grigar’s critical study on hand to feed content into the social media conversations. They also took photographs, mixing in prepared research on the work and its criticism with observations, comments, and interactions with other participants. While Kolb performed the Traversal, Grigar moderated the live YouTube chat and later the question and answer session, documented in the videos on this page. After the event Nicholas Schiller prepared a Storify site to gather social media posts and screen captures of the YouTube Chat. All of this material helps to further document the work and capture the audience experience with the work.

We posted to three locations on Facebook: 1) the site Grigar set up in 2013 for the Pathfinders project, entitled "elitpathfinders,"  with 245 followers, 2) the Electronic Literature Organization's page with over 1600 members, and 3) Grigar's own site. ELL Team members with a Facebook page also posted to their own sites. 

This post encourages viewers to join the live stream, providing the time of the traversal and the link to the YouTube chat.

A screenshot of the traversal schedule was posted, in addition to the live stream link.

This post showed a copy of Samplers next to the lampshade computer, the computer the work was read on. Also provided is a plot summary for one of Deena's nine hypertexts within Samplers.

Here was the cover art for Deena Larsen's "Samplers", along with a description. 

The floppy version of Deena Larsen's work was posted, in addition to a note from Deena.

A link was provided in Facebook to Deena Larsen's work "A Modern Fairy Tale".

Nathan Zaunbrecher left a Facebook comment about Deena's work "Samplers".

After the traversal, we invited followers to join the live Q&A happening on the YouTube chat.

We tweeted the Traversal on three accounts: 1) Dene Grigar's account that had over 2,800 followers, 2) Nicholas Schiller's account, with 2,200 followers and 3) ELL Team Member Veronica Whitney's site, with over 175 members. Whitney was in charge of posting and reposting on Twitter during the event. The hashtag we used was #elitpathfinders, the same hashtag developed for the original Pathfinders project.

Katie Bowen tweeted a link to the @elitpathfinders Facebook page.

Megan Heyward tweeted that ELL gives creators the opportunity to view works they hadn't seen in years.

Katie Bowen thanks viewers in a tweet for participating in the traversal.

Dene Grigar tweets an invitation to the live traversal, which would begin half an hour later.

The Electronic Literature Lab announces Deena Larsen's work "Samplers", which would take place on November 9th.

Katie Bowen tweeted a summary of Larsen's work "Caught Out", which Larsen claims is her favorite work.

Katie Bowen tweeted Larsen's cover art for the "Samplers" folio, explaining that each patch on the quilt represents the 9 hypertexts within it with different structures.

Katie Bowen tweeted a quote from Emerson, who explains that Larsen had exploited a bug in Storyspace 1.2C that presents the reader with two different screens to choose from.

Katie Bowen tweeted a summary of Larsen's work "Firewheel".

Katie Bowen tweeted Larsen's point that "structure equals meaning".

Katie Bowen tweeted that the titles within "Samplers" each involve a pun.

Katie Bowen tweeted an announcement that Deena Larsen's "Samplers" would be shown on the iLamp during the traversal.

Katie Bowen tweeted a link to ELL's Instagram page.

Katie Bowen tweeted an invitation to viewers to watch a live traversal of Deena Larsen's "Samplers" on YouTube.

Megan Heyward tweeted that she was looking forward to the live traversal.

Megan Heyward tweeted a picture of her watching the traversal from her laptop.

Katie Bowen tweeted a link to the live traversal as it started.

Nicholas Schiller invites viewers to watch the ongoing traversal.


ELO posted an image comparing Deena Larsen's work on a Mac vs. a PC in Instagram.

This Instagram Post was shared by the ELO, and provides details about the computer used to perform the traversal.

The ELO posted a thank you in Instagram to everyone involved in the live traversal.

YouTube Chat As we were relying heavily on YouTube for distribution of video for our live streamed Traversal, with this Traversal we began to capture the discussion that took place in YouTube's chat feature.

Here is the chat for David Kolb's reading of his Socrates in the Labyrinth. The linear nature of text chat presented challenges for including in this book, we'll explore other techniques for capturing this conversation in future chapters.
We found Storify useful as a tool for pulling together all of the Facebook and Twitter posts into one interface. While our story could have been exported as a .pdf or made into a screen capture, the output is not an accurate representation of the original format and presents other display issues. Instead, Nicholas opted to export the story to HTML, save the content locally, and then host it on our web server. Weeks into our project, the developers of Storify announced that the site would not be continued after May 2018, which means we will not have access to this tool in future stages of our project.


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