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November In Manchester

Read a local novel with a twist...it's all on Twitter

Published on November 11th 2009.


November In Manchester

In an age where Twitter and Facebook have become viable forms of everyday communication, it was only a matter of time before social networking formed the basis for a novel, or in this case, a social media novel.

Just as some people – worryingly - appear to be living their lives through social networking sites such as Twitter, 'November In Manchester' does just that, but with made up characters.

But what exactly is a social media novel? Just as some people- worryingly- appear to be living their lives through social networking sites such as Twitter, 'November In Manchester' does just that, but with made up characters.

Creator of the project, Tom Mason, came up with the concept for his fictional tale on the web. It's somewhere between a soap opera and a book but the difference is that the story is told through Twitter, blogs and photos. So it's just the same as following your mates Tweets, but because these are fictional characters they're likely to have a bit more going on in their updates than just 'Having a cup of tea and ‘About to watch X Factor at home.'

It's also draws similarities to Second Life - the virtual online world that has caused all sorts of controversy in the real world over the past year. Thankfully 'November in Manchester' is more light-hearted than that. The synopsis for the story is as follows......

'James and Persephone are just two small souls in a big Northern city. A chance meeting will bring them together and over four weeks in November, they will begin a whirlwind romance in the capital of the North. They will share their lives with six other characters in the city. The four weeks will take our heroes to places and locations right across Manchester. They will share news and photographs on Twitter. They will blog about revelations and rendezvous. They will tweet their wanderings and wonderings.’

The not-for-profit project is running until Monday 30 November and up until that date you can follow the story of eight characters via regular Twitter updates and blog posts.

Mason said; “It is very important that the novel fairly represents the vibrant nature of the city; plenty can happen within a month and thankfully Manchester isn't short of things for the characters to do.

"Telling a story over this period of time via social media networks such as Twitter is a daunting prospect, but it will be exciting to see if a novel can run via these mediums.”

Katy Ratican who is also helping Tom with the project said: “It's a lot more tiring than we thought it would be. Tom is all of the characters. It's all a con really.”

“The most successful part of it is that establishments in Manchester are now actually replying on Twitter to fictional characters. For example, one character tweeted that he didn't know where to go out in the Northern Quarter for a drink and one bar replied with 'Come down for cocktails'.”

The website is the central hub of the story, presenting character biographies, bringing together all Twitter and blog updates and showcasing the catalogue of user-submitted photographs that make the story personal to Manchester.

The photo stream accompanying the online novel also continues to grow throughout the twenty eight day project, as people submit photographs and videos of their experiences of Manchester.

Once the project comes to an end the photographs will remain online, offering users an insight into life in Manchester. To get involved in this cyber soap experiment visit www.novemberinmanchester.com and follow on Twitter here. Even if you don't care for the story or being part of it, the blog also serves as a what's on guide and gallery for Manchester, highlighting all sorts of things going on in the city in November.

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Katy RaticanNovember 11th 2009.

Article misquotes me here; why would I use the phrase "it's all a con really"?? The characters are fictional and this is clear - 'con' suggests there's some sort of deception involved!

Lynda MoyoNovember 11th 2009.

Hi Katy, sorry if you feel I've misquoted you but that is what I noted down from our conversation. It wasn't said implying any sort of deception, just highlighting the fictional nature of the project and the fact that some bars thought it was real. Maybe if you weren't happy with the quote, you should have called me first to discuss it.

Katy RaticanNovember 11th 2009.

No worries, could have given you a bell. Just want people to know that 'con' gives the wrong impression! Feel free to make an amendment ;)

Holden CaulfieldNovember 11th 2009.

Novel?, looks like some kinda goddamn phoney guerilla marketing of manchester to me.

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