Moby-Dick in tweet form

Ape Lad sez, "Several months ago on Twitter I made a passing remark that it would be kinda neat if someone tweeted Moby-Dick. 12,849 updates later, and thanks to the wizardry of Dan Coulter, it's done. Enjoy Ishmael's adventure 140 characters at a time."

Tweeting Moby Dick (Thanks, Ape Lad!)



    Why didn’t I notice before I started @mobydicktwit!?

    Seriously…I had NO clue. :-(

  2. My most favourite memory of reading Moby Dick was a single sentence that was half a page long.

  3. Right now @BloomsDayTweet is cranking out Ulysses by James Joyce. At one tweet every 2 minutes it should be complete by Blooms Day on June 16.

  4. Well this bites. A few weeks ago, after seeing a post about why twitter is evil (“”) and seeing “14. Moby Dick” I thought to myself “It’d be funny to tweet ‘Moby Dick’!”. So I spent a couple hours throwing a script together to do exactly that and set it on

  5. Call me a bore, but I don’t see the point of this.

    Except if you can use to read it in your mobile phone while you’re in the subway or the toilet. (That would be nice indeed, most of the time I forgot the book, but I’m carrying my mobile while I’m at the “throne”… So boring.)

    Otherwise, I’d prefer the book.

  6. It will be nice when this tweeting fad ends and we’re onto the next pointless, technology-fueled diversion.

  7. Before I say anything I think Twitter is a complete waste of time and a bit creepy. Don’t you have anything better to do than follow people’s tweets?

    Seriously though, Moby Dick?

    Why on earth would anyone care about this? Just to say that it was done, big whoop. If someone actually reads the whole thing in tweet-form, then please, let us know, so I can slap them. Otherwise who cares. Hey why not tweet the Bible or even better the complete Wheel of Time?

    For the record I did have a Twitter account for all of 2 days. So annoying.


  8. The great thing about Twitter is that if you don’t want to read Moby Dick, you don’t have to follow it. I mostly did this for my own amusement (and for Apelad’s). Anyone who enjoyed it beyond that is a bonus.

    After dumping the entire book onto Twitter, I can now say that I’ve read more of the book (nearly all of it) than I had before (almost none of it). It was a lot more entertaining to read it in 140 character snippets than I thought it would be.

    This post helps explain the large number of followers that I gained today.

  9. @ #9 I don’t know about his dick, but the rest of him made a video with David Lynch that is almost as interesting as the entire Twitter phenomenon. *yawn*

  10. I’m with the “This is kinda pointless” crowd, sorry. While I’m all for spreading public domain texts and making people read more, this somehow seems to completely subvert the “thing” about Twitter – expressing yourself in 140 characters or less. Sorry, but when I see tweets like “astern.”, I kinda think that You’re Doing It Wrong. Though I guess it’s equally possible that I just don’t get the purpose of Twitter (Disclaimer: I don’t have an account because I didn’t see the appeal and because I’m not really into social networking sites to begin with.) or that I’m being overly conservative. I dunno. I’ll readily admit that it’s an amusing proof of concept, but… I don’t get it.

  11. I’m late to the party so now I have an odd problem: going to these tweet novels now that they’re done, they appear backwards, most recent tweets first. Unless you follow from the start, you’ll be reading out of order. Which also means I now know how Moby Dick ends. Thanks.

    Maybe next time, instruct the robot to tweet the novel backwards?

  12. @ #15, The point isn’t to have an archive on Twitter for reading in order once it’s all there. It’s to read it while it’s going, a tiny piece at a time.

  13. Are people actively working to make Twitter seem even more pointless and irritating? Is that the deal?

  14. #14 yes, you did it first, but as #15 points out. It’s backward. @Bloomsdaytweet is going from back to front, which, pointless as it is will be readable when finished. It’s ok to not be first when you can make improvements.

  15. So here’s my caviat. And this is not to say that I do not find this precedent (that a book was tweeted) to be a bad thing, but what no one’s considering I think is that a literary work of that length is not just characters and words. Also not being considered here is the historicity of MD. It wasn’t written on twitter. So what I would like to see accounted for in the discussion is not “is it worth it? / Is it not?” That question is totally pointless. It happened. Rather we should ask, what are the implications for the consumption of literary styles that were very differently historically determined, and what are the implications for future literature?

  16. With apologies to Sam Johnson, this is like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are perplexed to find it done at all.

  17. Have a look at @dalighieri ( It’s the Divine Comedy in 140 character chunks and it is not done by a robot. Also actually makes use of Twitterese (@ replies and RTs) instead of just chopping up extant text.

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