In April of 2015, students in “The Future of Fiction” participated in a “netprov” called “I Work for the Web” (organized using the hashtag #IWFW), created by Mark C. Marino and Rob Wittig.
Netprov is a genre of Twitter fiction that explores how multiple people can collaborate on an improvised narrative in real time. “I Work For the Web” focused on the concept of “playbor”–the ways that leisure time spent online is monetized or otherwise used by corporations. The netprov staged a clash between those who who wanted to continue capitalizing on the free labor of the web and those who wanted to organize a union to protect the rights of web workers. Ranging from witty to silly to philosophical, the tweets (from a variety of Twitter users and personas) explored not only “playbor” but also the ways that memes and viral campaigns may either be used by the establishment or subverted by protestors.
Our participation in the netprov was part of a larger unit on the role of platform in contemporary experimental literature. In addition to #IWFW, we discussed a Twitter short story written by the novelist David Mitchell, as well as the LA Flood Project, which combines netprov with locative media.