Partying with the Barbies


We had our poetry jam on Twitter last night, and this time we did a kind of “event” around Marcus Goodyear’s newly published collection, Barbies at Communion: and other poems. So, yes, it was a Barbie-themed party, and it was wild.

For the last three poetry jams, we’ve been featuring a new “tool” or Twitter application developed by Matt Priour. You can see it at the main TweetSpeak URL. You log in under your Twitter account, and then post in the designated box. Poetry jam prompts appear in the box above the tweeting box.

Electronically, what happens is this: you log in, you enter a tweet and hit the tweet button, and then the application sends the tweet to the Twitter data base (a kind of “registration process”) and then back out again to the posted tweets list. It can take up to 10 seconds to complete the process. While you’re waiting, other tweets are appearing, you respond with a new one – and, as you might imagine, the pace can get frantic and you can easily lose your way.

But you don’t have to use the tool (we call it TweetSpeak Party); you can use Twitter, HootSuite, TweetDeck or any other similar application, and your tweets are included as long as you include the #tsptry hashtag with your tweets.

I used TweetSpeak Party exclusively last night. And while the 10-second delay could be perplexing, with poetic contributions streaming in and from all directions, I found myself focusing on a few and then following and responding to those. A few participants had trouble with the tool, and then trying to keep track of everything with other applications like HootSuite or TweetDeck. I was also watching the tweets via TweetDeck, and found a few that weren’t showing up in the TweetSpeak Party posting box (although they all did show up in the data base Matt created to collect all of the tweets – 1,080 tweets strong). And a few had some technical trouble with either TweetSpeak Party or their regular Twitter application.

Matt’s been working on a new application, one that can be independent of Twitter or other applications and happen within the framework of TweetSpeak Poetry itself. We’ll keep you up-to-date on progress.

Now the hard part starts – the editing of the tweets into poems. The process itself deserves its own blog post, but what essentially happens is this: I read through all of the tweets as a group several times. I then highlight what are obviously related tweets. Those are copied and pasted into a Word document, then worked over to fit them with each other in what can range from 15 to 35 poems. This usually happens over a period of about a week.

For the Barbie poems, I’ll have an introduction, which will include the usual pre-party online discussion and a couple of links provided by the poet/author himself to inspire the participants. Although I’m not sure how inspirational Barbie Enchiladas actually are.


Kindle and print versions of Barbies at Communion are available via Amazon. You can also order a print copy signed by the author via Paypal, linked from the book’s web page.

Want to party with the poems all the time? Take a button, if you like…

barbies button

Your Comments

12 Comments so far

  1. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with last night’s jam. There’s something cool about seeing it happening and then seeing what you bring out from it. Thanks for putting the time in!

  2. I’ve been looking forward to this poetry jam since I stumbled into your last one – uninvited and most delighted-to-be-there guest ;) But then, through a series of late nights and kid stuff, I fell fast asleep, curled up next to my laptop, long before 9pm. Woe is me. Here’s to next time!

  3. you’re right. the editing does deserve its own post.
    being shown more parts of the process makes the whole thing more interesting to me.

  4. I can’t speak for others, but I’m totally inspired by Barbie Enchiladas.

    I love this post, Glynn! You do a great job of explaining what goes into these things. The good news is that Matt was watching our new tool run in the background while we all used the current tool. His new tool turns tweets around in 1 second, and hopefully it will be ready for the next game!

  5. I successfully logged into TweetSpeak Party last night. The problem I had was that the box in which to post kept disappearing and I had to get out of the application and then log back in for it to re-appear, and sometimes that did not produce the result. I have no idea why the box disappeared from within my TSP screen. I use a Mac.

    I wanted very much to participate last night but the technical glitch was such I opted to do something else.

    That said, I’ll try again next time.

  6. L. L. Barkat says:

    Oh, Maureen! And I did SO miss you. That is a terrible thing. I feel it when your voice is gone.

    And Glynn… that Barbies Enchiladas picture is a riot!!! :)

  7. Erin says:

    Last night was so weird, and so fun, and so fast! I do not envy your job, Glynn! :)

  8. Maureen, you were missed. Since you are on Mac, I assume you are using Safari…

  9. Matt Priour says:

    @Glynn : Thanks so very much for writing this post. It really does a good job of explaining the way our current tool works without going into complexity.

    @All : I appreciate the feedback whether it is here, on twitter, or directly. I will have check out the tool on Safari. I hope the work I’m doing to create a new behind-the-scene system will make participation even easier.

  10. Heather says:

    I was using Safari on the church Mac and it was way smoother than on my Dell.


  1. little girls and their dreams – a post about barbies : kelly langner sauer | blog - May 27, 2010

    [...] week, I’ve been thinking about Barbies, thanks in part to a Tweetspeak Party this week, and in part to an email from L.L. Barkat asking me to write about [...]

  2. Calling All Barbie Lovers (and Unlovers) - May 28, 2010

    [...] Tuesday night, partly in celebration of Marcus Goodyear’s new book Barbies at Communion, we held a Twitter party with the theme of… [...]

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