Twitter is all about economy of language. But at the same time, it’s an absolute firehose-blast of language. Don’t believe me? Then check out Philipp Adrian’s #oneSecond. It collected everything tweeted in a single second and preserved it in context.
The result is four thick books. You could spend hours, in other words, deconstructing that second.
Hitting on the idea of capturing and visualizing what one second’s worth of tweets might look like, in a global perspective, he turned to Datasift to acquire every tweet in the world occurring Nov. 9, 2012, at 14:47:36 GMT.
These 5,522 bursts, in 42 languages, were arranged in a book, ordered by language. Adrian then culled additional data on his own and created additional books exploring the relevant tweeters’ color-scheme choices, avatar imagery, and profile descriptions.
Via email, Adrian concedes that he “went a little out of bounds” from the original assignment. But I’m glad he did. The school paid the $2,500 or so it cost to print this lovely object, which currently exists in just one copy (owned by the school). Thanks to recent attention — I learned about #oneSecond from the Post-Digital Publishing Archive Tumblr — and “people being interested in the printed version,” he tells me, “I might be able to produce a small edition in the future.”
If that happens, I will tweet about it.