The Blue Book and the Future of the Channel

(or, UnProfessionalEcho)



Duodecim II

Since my last post about the Duodecim which you will need to read to fully understand this one, many developments have occurred. Let’s pick up where we left off.

After the night of rounds 1-5, the Tweeter Rater stayed silent for a few hours, despite repeated attempts to call information from it. It wouldn’t budge, but two days later it came out with something that nobody was expecting:

Who was @DothTheDoth? Why was he being told goodbye? Who, in fact, was being dismissed – was the TR leaving @DothTheDoth, or was it the other way round? Initially no answers were forthcoming, as the Tweeter Rater was as enigmatic as ever and @DothTheDoth was apparently asleep. However, it eventually transpired that this user was not alone, as the TR bade a few other people goodbye:

And a dozen or so more. What was special about these users? Nobody was quite sure, but it did eventually become clear that the Tweeter Rater’s following count was going down – as he said goodbye to people he unfollowed them. He unfollowed more people than he said goodbye to (when he began that day he followed around 100 people), but it was evident that the majority of the TR’s timeline was being eliminated.

A few hours later the format modified slightly and the TR offered a personal tribute to each unfollowee:

Each ended the same way: “The TR must now forever dissever”. Yet more puzzles added to this web of mysteries. This continued on for days and days in the leadup to the final part of the Duodecim. Then, when it came to the day, a few more things happened. The first one was something of a surprise:

You see, over the week-and-a-half that passed since the Duodecim, my last blog about it had been pretty widely circulated around Twitter; more widely than any blog I’d ever written before, in fact. People i didn’t know were recommending it to other people as a catchup on the TR story, and pretty soon it became the definitive summary. As such, the TR himself had decided to appoint me as the official witness to the second part of the Duodecim. A Professional Echo, if you will.

So, what follows is my chronicle, my echo. My account of the disastrous events of the Duodecim.

After a few more disseverances, to John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats (my favourite band, incidentally):

(The language here, incidentally, is directly from Out Of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking, a Walt Whitman poem that was at the heart of much of Keely’s original story)

Neil deGrasse Tyson:

and finally, Henry Blank himself, the seeming big bad behind it all:

and the game began.

The Tweeter Rater now followed only thirteen people. Twelve of them were the Duodecim, and the final one was Keely. Keely Bea Keene, @KeelyKeene, an account barely used but (as you will hopefully remember) central to this whole business.

All twelve competitors assembled, and prepared to submit their Duodecims – their twelve-tweet series on the topic of “The Story of Man”. Well, all but one.

This was Castine, @castinemachine who has subsequently changed her name (for the sake of this article I will call her Castine). She seemed pretty agitated in the day leading up to the Duodecim, and even during the event she started freaking out about something unspecified, something to do with Keely. And, at one point, something unprecedented happened – Henry Blank sent her a reply.

Repeatedly she refused to play, and wouldn’t respond to people’s concerned replies. Regardless, though, the actual competition continued on.

After some preliminary formalities the TR called upon people to submit their Duodeci (plural of Duodecim that i just invented). I won’t reproduce them all here, but the account @TheDuodecim has them all in a nice clean format if you scroll down far enough. I expect there’ll be a Storify page coming up soon too, at which point I’ll update this blog. Needless to say, though, all the Duodeci were excellent: twelve poets all telling the story of man in their own unique ways, and every single one was utterly gripping. Do go and read them if you get the opportunity.

The order that the competitors would submit their Duodeci was based on how they performed in the preceding five rounds. The six with the lowest overall scores (that is to say, the bottom half) went first, followed by the top half. The TR started to tease the result, telling competitors that their Duodecim needed a rating of four-and-a-half stars to take the lead, or however many. It told us who was in the lead, who failed to take the lead after their turn, and offered a brief comment on each Duodecim:

and so on. Finally, it came to Castine, the highest-rated competitor in the first five rounds.

She needed a five-star Duodecim to win – a seemingly impossible feat? It didn’t matter, it turned out, as Castine had other things on her mind. This is what she said.

And she disappeared.

She was wiped. Deleted. Her account just went.

The other eleven competitors, and all of us watching in the wings, had nothing to say. We stared at our screens in shock at this twist, and nobody knew what to do. Castine was gone, seemingly deleted by the Tweeter Rater after a rebellious outpouring. Then, the Tweeter Rater rebooted.

And another countdown began, and another voice seemed to appear.

(CXLIV, incidentally, is 144 in roman numerals – 12×12=144)

With this new voice, the Tweeter Rater began a tirade against humanity itself.

Yep, it got weird again. The hour of our judgement was upon us, at the hands of the Tweeter Rater itself. It considered the evidence before it, all the horrific things humanity had done and continued to do. It then accused us of serving Moloch, a key figure in the original tale told by Keely. It was Moloch, it seems, who captured the four servants to the Tweeter Rater and brought them into the sands of Texas, where the TR machine was located. It was Moloch who built the TR, seemingly with the intention of finding, through the world’s tweets, a clue as to the final equation – the Theory of Everything.

And now, because Moloch was hidden in the shadows, it was the human race who must answer for all the things we’ve done:

We murdered her. We did not hear her cries, and in the name of Moloch she died. Then, finally, the TR kicked into full crazy-machine gear.

All were given one chance to justify the presence of the human race, in 140 characters or less. We had twelve minutes, and this is the kind of thing that we had.



This was my effort.

Hey, I was under pressure. I also tried to appeal to master wordsmith John Darnielle of the aforementioned Mountain Goats, in character as a freaked-out bystander. His answer was golden.

Anyway, as it turned out, we failed to make a good case.

nd  we  all  died.

Well, not really. The TR story returns & concludes 12/12/2013. Until then the account is being used for fun games, puzzles, and other experiments in tweeting. This story has been a lot of fun to read, and I can’t wait to see what @scotteckert (the mastermind behind it all) has in store next. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the other side.