The Perfect Book for The Person Who Thinks Twitter Is About Sharing Pictures of Lunch

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It was almost a year ago when the first truly great piece of literature arrived on Twitter. A parody of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago mayoral campaign made a magical leap from profane joke into... an epic in tweets.

From your gadget-obsessed sister (who lives for her iPad) to your garden-obsessed uncle (who thinks apple is a fruit)
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As it happened, the man behind @MayorEmanuel, Dan Sinker, then a journalism professor at Columbia College, revealed himself to the world through our humble Technology Channel.

Sinker was suddenly thrust into the limelight. Some of the attention was annoying: Mere hours after our story went up, there were TV news trucks on his family's front lawn. But some great things came out of it, like a book deal with Scribner that resulted in, "The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel." The book is a direct reproduction of the original Twitter stream with extra context and commentary thrown in. While the temporal and responsive aspects of the Twitter narrative become compressed in book form, it's actually easier to see the brilliance of Sinker's 140-character prose-poems when they're laid out flat. Here's what we said about it earlier this year.

The glory of @MayorEmanuel was that it exposed the dark humor that political operatives know and love, mixed with the drunken idealism that tends to drive the politicos. Politics is desperate and raw and exhausting, yet on TV it looks so polished and prim. It's a knock-down, drag-out war in which everyone has to fight in their Sunday best. @MayorEmanuel looked at that state of affairs and started cussing, not unlike what a lot of us do when we look at our politics. This take on politics would not be airbrushed, edited, or watered down. All the things public politics downplays, this feed would expand and celebrate. This feed would be festooned with anger and the drive for power and the f-word. It was the inverse of the real Emanuel campaign, or as the [Chicago] Tribune called it a "brilliantly imagined and unrestrained counter-script."

As a gift, this book is perfect for people who think that Twitter is only "celebrities talking about what they had for lunch." And it's also perfect for people from Chicago. And it's also perfect for heavy Twitter users who want to see the first time a brilliant writer elevated the form they know and love.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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