Sunday 10th May 2009

Ever one to keep up with the latest technologies, Samuel Pepys has now started twittering regularly. He’ll be updating around three times a day, so feel free to follow him if you want to keep up with what he’s doing before he gets round to writing his diary at night.

When thinking of putting Pepys on Twitter my first thought was simply to post a quote once a day, with a link to that day’s diary entry. But while compiling the quotes for upcoming days I realised that to be more in keeping with Twitter the account should update in real time.

So, technology willing, the samuelpepys account should update regularly with quotes from that day’s diary entry as if Sam’s sending them as the events happen. Of course, I’ve guessed at the time of day each event happens, but they should make sense.

The only oddity (well, aside from a 17th century Londoner using Twitter) is the days of the week not being in sync with our own — so while the time of day will be the same as ours (for those in the UK) Pepys will, for example, go to church on our Wednesdays.

I’m aware that posting the day’s events during the course of the day could seem like spoilers for that night’s diary. The simple answer is to not follow the Twitter feed; the events won’t appear on PepysDiary.com so there won’t be any spoilers on this site.

I hope the upside is that many people will now be able to keep up with Pepys’ life, even if in a minimal fashion, who wouldn’t usually read the diary at all.

Many thanks to Phil Gregory for donating the samuelpepys Twitter account for this purpose.

10 Comments

Glyn   Link to this

Don't you have enough work to do? I know you're already working about 36 hours a day.

Fantastic.

How does this work, do you get one message per day, or 2 or 3 every few hours.

Phil Gyford   Link to this

At the moment it's around three messages per day. We'll see how that feels over the next week or so.

When I'm preparing the diary entries for posting on the site (usually a week's worth at a time) I'll now also prepare a week's worth of 140 character snippets from the diary. I'll probably need to make slight tweaks to them to fit and make sense, but by and large they'll still be Pepys' words. It shouldn't be too much extra work, and I'm really enjoying the result so far -- for someone already immersed in Twitter it really feels like having a sense of what Sam is up to right "now".

Glyn   Link to this

I get that. But I noticed that many the entries seem to be out of sync with the time of day they happened. For examples, there's one that begins something like "Up betimes" (i.e. he got up early) which appears to have been posted at 10 pm. Are the three daily entries going to be posted at morning, afternoon and night or are they tied to something else?

Unless you're doing them manually rather than automatically.

By the way, you'll definitely have to censor him when he starts fooling around with women and starts speaking his own coded language. I'm guessing you'll get a rise in followers when that happens, and also in September during the Great Fire.

You're immersed in Twitter? I thought that I read on your blog that you were switching off from it?

Phil Gyford   Link to this

The out-of-sync nature of the times is just because Twitter defaults to a different time zone than the UK. If you sign up for an account and change your time zone in the settings, then you'll see them differently.

The messages are set to go out at appropriate times of the day according to my guesses as to when the events happened.

I'm not sure why he'll need to be censored on Twitter when he's not censored on the website (well, apart from Mr Wheatley's censoring of course).

I don't recall saying I was stopping using Twitter -- I've been using it happily for two and a half years now.

Lawrence   Link to this

You must just love working all the time Phil, but I will follow this I think, as time in my day allows, but remember? "all work and no play, can make Jack a dull boy!" but good luck with this...cheers Lawrence..

Phil Gyford   Link to this

But this *is* play Lawrence!

JKM   Link to this

[not about Twitter] Phil, I just noticed an event that should perhaps be posted somewhere on this site: a reprise next month of last year's excellent Pepys concert in Boston. I learned about this site at that concert & have read it every day since! If appropriate, how to post info?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

If SP has Twitter, EP can surely follow or log on through the web: one does wonder about her reaction to updates like:

# Went into Mrs. Bagwell's house and did what I would. But I was not a little fearfull that her servant was dead of the plague.2:12 PM Jun 13th from web

# I left alone with little Mrs. Tooker, whom I kept with me in my chamber all the afternoon, and did what I would with her.7:12 AM Jun 7th from web

Forrest Howie   Link to this

Great site! Haven't been to London in ages but hope to see it again soon. Was 'googling' Paternoster Row and up it came under your entry and now I shall be following this superb piece of work with interest.
PS my reason for searching this was I once read Cynthia Harnett's 'The Load of the Unicorn' as a child and its got a very evocative section on pre-Tudor London around the Cathedral area in it.
Thanks for keeping such a labour of love going.
Yours
Forrest

Michael Robinson   Link to this

SP appears to have acquired some contemporaries as 'twittermates.'

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