Dan Sinker was revealed to be the man behind the curtain of the insanely bonkers @MayorEmanuel twitter account. The Chicagoan was the founder of Punk Planet, a journalism professor at Columbia College and most recently has jumped ship to Mozilla to head up their news tech partnership with Knight.
You could say it’s been a roller coaster for Sinker this past year. He’s met the actual Mayor Emanuel and just last week published an annotated collection of the fictional Twitter account into a book. By all accounts the book is doing swimmingly on Amazon.
“@MayorEmanuel was a brilliant piece of writing that pushed Twitter’s boundaries as a vehicle for literature far beyond what I’d thought was possible,” writes Alexis Madrigal, of The Atlantic. “Also, I suspect English-as-a-second-language teachers are buying the books in bulk to aid their students in learning how to swear like a native Chicagoan.”
For those not caught up on the exploits of @MayorEmanuel, the long and short of it was the account started out as a fictionalized take on a foul-mouthed Rahm Emanuel running for mayor of Chicago. But soon that premise grew to include a crazy science fiction universe where the fictional Rahm Emanuel had to commit suicide to prevent a vortex for swallowing the world. It was engrossing, crazy, far out stuff. It was, yes, a brilliant piece of writing.
Madrigal was not using hyperbole. Anyway, Sinker’s next project, according to Andrew Losowsky, will be a Tweeted book going out through the Huffington Post Book Twitter account, @HuffPostBooks. The show starts Tuesday, which means you should probably strap yourself into his next madcap adventure from the beginning.
Sinker admits: “I wanted to write a short story about books, about their mythologies and about why we hold the stories inside them so dear. But I’m setting it far in the future, at the very end of days for the book. Like the @MayorEmanuel story, a lot of it will be improvised – I have a few images I like and some beats I want to be sure to hit – but absolutely interaction from the audience is going to be crucial, even if a time-shifted link from the far future that somehow intersects with present-day Twitter and allows communication to flow in real-time may seem like a difficult rig to build.”
“But then again, who thought a story about a guy from another dimension running for mayor of this one with a puppy and a duck with a mustache would work. Crazier things have happened, maybe, right?,” Sinker said.
The only concern in this corner is that the fictional Twitter character of Mayor Emanuel won’t be present and because the story will be told through the HuffPost account, the extra layer of meta will surely be missing. Yes, his story on the HuffPost will play out in real time, but what made @MayorEmanuel so great was the thought of a fictional Mayor Emanuel out there, running for mayor existing in our world the same as anyone on Twitter.
Still, Sinker is encouraging people to interact and retweet and help shape the free-flowing direction of the narrative, so there’s that.