Twitter, according to many Internet experts, is the next hot item for promoting people and their creations, including books. Twitter is a microblogging service that limits posts to 140 characters, thus challenging its users to generate intriguing and provoking messages within that format. In that aspect, it resembles short forms of poetry. In answering the question, "What are you doing right now?" Twitter lets users give peeks into their lives and engages them in what kidlit blogger Mark Blevis (http://www.JustOneMoreBook.com) calls "short, snacky conversations".
I was peripherally aware of Twitter, but most Tweets (Twitter posts) I'd seen seemed to be either totally obscure or completely boring. Sheila Ruth of Imaginator Press (publisher of Ratha's Courage!) and Wands and Worlds told me she was using Twitter, so, encouraged by her example, I decided to give it a whirl. Hearing that another writer had given her characters Twitter identities and had them Tweet each other several times a day, I thought it could be fun to have Ratha, Fessran, Thistle-chaser and the rest of the Named gang make their little snacky comments about their world, our world and each other.
So why ClanChirps? Well, for one thing, I hadn't quite figured out how to make multiple user identies on Twitter, and I wanted to get going, so I just decided to preface the clan cats' Tweets with a word that would distinguish theirs from mine. Cats, however, don't tweet, which is one reason why the Twitter logo is a bird. Cats make lots of other sounds, however, and they use short high calls that are described as chirping or trilling. Yes, cats can chirp. Listen to a mom kitty calling her babies. Big cats do it too. As Bira says in one of the earlier posts, " Ask any cheetah."
So, once given Twitter access, the Named have left their tracks all over it. From Ratha's first online chirp in response to the care of monarch butterfly caterpillar waste removal ("Can't you teach your caterpillars to use a litterbox?" ), through a clan variation of a 4th of July barbeque:
ClanChirps - Mondir: "Why are we dragging this toward the firepit? You aren't going to throw it in and let it burn up, are you?" 06:06 PM September 01, 2008
ClanChirps - Cherfan: "That's what a barbecue is, dung-for-brains! You grab the meat out before it burns. Makes it tastier..." 06:12 PM
There's Fessran's garbled attempt to participate in "Talk Like a Pirate Day", and baffled feline comments on human election year politics:
ClanChirps - Ratha:"I'm peeking into the future human world. What's a 'sarah palin'?" 01:44 PM September 15, 2008 from web
ClanChirps - Fessran: "I don't know, but I see a really scary thing called a 'mccain'. Poor humans." 02:05 PM September 15, 2008 from web
ClanChirps - Fessran: "I don't think the sarah palin would like me. I'm in a book, I'm sexy, and I think I'm in love with Ratha... 02:16 PM September 15, 2008 from web
Fessran: "I'm not really. I just wanted to claw-poke the palin, who doesn't think us females should love each other." 02:56 PM September 15, 2008 from web
As you can see, the Named have been romping around, making absolute Twits of themselves.
The Chirps also include a little ongoing tale, done in dialog, which is a prequel to Ratha's Courage. Featuring Bundi, from Clan Ground, and Mishanti, from Ratha and Thistle-Chaser, this little Twitter-playlet relates how the rumblers (indrotheres) Grunt and Belch came to be among the clan's herdbeasts and how they got their names. Composed directly on Twitter, this Named Twit-improv (Twitprov?) is coming directly from the kitty's mouth, so to speak, and not even the author knows what the Named will do or say next.
Mishanti, warning Bundi to be careful while getting a threehorn milch-doe from the herd to provide milk for the rumbler babies:
ClanChirps- Mishanti: "Not get kicked in head, else you talk like me and Thistle. Kicked in furry butt, maybe OK." 10:18 PM September 04, 2008 from web
Join me (Twitter ID"rathacat") and the Named bunch and "whitetip" (follow) us through the interlinked paths of the Miocene and the present day.
As Ratha says, "Yaaaarrr! Chirp!"