I somehow missed this last week, but just became aware of the big reveal that actual people were behind the @Horse_ebooks twitter account. I then went down a rabbit hole of reading reactions to the event, and it's kind of fascinating. I can't say I was ever really into @Horse_ebooks- the few times I stumbled across retweets I thought it was charming enough, but didn't give it a lot of thought.
However, the things that this reveal are bringing up in people are really interesting - strong emotions of disappointment and sadness and anger.
It's an odd twist on the "authorship" debate. People loved @Horse for the seemingly random beauty of it's nonsensical tweets. Can they still appreciate that beauty when it turns out that it wasn't a bot scraping eBook material, but was actually intentional writings by two human beings? Does the context of it being "performance art" change the meaning of the content so much that it ruins it for people?
The second thing that seems to get people upset is the idea, long suspected by some and now confirmed, that these efforts were part of a very slowly played campaign, now being used to promote some new media projects by the owners of the account. That may not have been the original intention, but that's what it's become, and this is somehow less palatable than the original attempts of this account to promote the sale of ebooks. Admittedly, those promotions were much more transparent. But it's interesting that these verbal gems have lost their luster now that they've been revealed to have a previously undisclosed purpose. It makes me think about why some attempts at "branded content" catch on, some don't, and some make people really, really angry.
I don't have any conclusions from all this, but after reading so many articles about it this afternoon, I had to share!
I'll add some links to some of the things I've been reading. #BrandedContent