Artwiculate is a word game played on Twitter. It first appeared, I think, in the late summer of 2009 and quickly attracted a dedicated crowd of fans. The Artwiculate account publishes a daily word, usually a more obscure one. Players are challenged to create a tweet incorporating the word. Originally Artwiculate picked up on all tweets that included the exact word that were published in a 24 hour period after the word was given. The tweets were loaded on a page on Artwiculate’s website where the tweets were ranked according to the number of likes and retweets they received. The tweet with most likes and RTs was crowned as Artwiculate champion of the day.
The pleasure of Artwiculate
I started playing quite early on, within a few weeks of the game going up. I quickly discovered the pleasure of crafting a tweet and seeing other people like it and re-post it. But to do well in the game, to have a chance of getting the crown, it was necessary not just to craft a really clever, funny or pertinent tweet. It was also necessary to advertise it by getting other people to see it. This meant yourself going out and reading other people’s tweets, liking them and retweeting them.
There were some fantastic contributions. We sparked one another off and sometimes there would be runs of brilliance. I often found myself warming to people I’d only ever come in contact with through their Artwiculate tweets. We followed one another and after a time many of us felt as close as friends. I know at least three couples who found one another through the game.
Unfortunately, the coterie we established came to be seen critically by later arrivals to the game. I think all of us did our best to be welcoming to everyone, but some of the newcomers were unhappy with us whatever we did. Eventually we attracted a troll who managed to destroy the game as it was – not just for our clique, but for everyone. The version of Artwiculate that remains on line is but a pale reflection of the original version. (Visit http://artwiculate.com to see.)
The Artwiculate Round-up
In April of 2010, one of the moves I personally made to try to be welcoming was starting the Artwiculate Round-up. I published it on my parallel Twitter account @TSupercargo. (I was thinking of a Yorkshire pronunciation – t’Supercargo.) Towards the end of Artwiculate’s daily 24 hours, I picked out my own favourites from the day’s stream. I strung them together with a tweet commentary and I published them.
The idea was to encourage newcomers, build out our original Artwiculate friendship group and perhaps introduce good tweets to a wider audience. I also wanted the opportunity to say something about why I rated certain tweets higher than others. Among the newcomers and critics (pre-troll) there were people whose grasp of English was shaky. And some who just didn’t appreciate or understand the wit involved. It was not unusual, for instance, for one of these to simply look up a dictionary definition of the word and tweet that. I wanted to show, without lecturing, what (in my opinion) made a good response.
As part of my mission I decided I would not retweet any of my own tweets. Posting on another Twitter feed was also a way to avoid accusations that I was really just promoting myself. (Of course I wouldn’t have minded if people whose tweets I included went off and thanked me by retweeting one of my tweets of the day. But to do that they would have had to seek out my regular account and search for my day’s Artwiculation. They’d have had to be pretty sharp about it too as I tried to time the Round-up to end just before Artwiculate closed collecting for the day.)
Download all the Round-ups
Originally my idea was to run the Round-up through April and then leave it. It proved popular and I found it a lot of fun (though a lot of work), so I continued, on and off, until the end of the year. There were a few Round-ups too in 2011.
The resulting texts – the RT’d Artwicutweets and my own comments – I published on this website. There were about 80 of them in the end.
Now it’s January 2019 and it all seems a long time ago. I’m tidying up my website and I’ve decided to remove the Round-up pages. However, if anyone visiting this page is interested, you can download a PDF with all the 80+ days of T’Supercargo’s Artwiculate Round-up by clicking here.
The words we played with were:[List of Words of the Day]
If you are only mildly interested and just want to see what the Round-up was like, below is the very first one (for 1st April 2010). The Word of the Day was Vaccimulgence. Enjoy!
RT @SJHatzi Vaccimulgence? Hard to milk this one.
Another of the wittier cries of despair came from @Wifsie:
RT @Wifsie I’d rather watch the trains go by than use this silly vaccimulgence word! (vache qui regarde passer les trains, in French) #artwiculate
The fact that the WOTD coincided with April Fool’s Day was also noted in more than one tweet – though I’m only going to share one example here:
RT @Tralala56 Holy vaccimulgence Batman, the Joker is planning to drown Gotham City in milk. I got it, Robin, it’s April Fool’s, pull the udder one!
On the other hand (as ever) some people were delighted and rose to the challenge:
RT @DaveCurry Vaccimulgence? Udderly delightful!
And, possibly responding to @SJHatzi,
RT @californiakara Vaccimulgence? Well I’m going to milk that word for all it’s worth!
Here are a few more puns and plays on idiom
RT @DrJillZ @artwiculate How do you do vaccimulgence? Show me the whey.
RT @tWordBird Vaccimulgence? This sucks. I’m udderly depleted. Let me nipple on it a while. Perhaps I’ll think of something to teat.
RT @BurningHawk1969 Do not lacrimate over accidentally decanted vaccimulgence. #artwiculate
RT @bwlightning You can tweet vaccimulgence ’til the cows come home, but me, I’m going to get a cookie. #artwiculate
RT @navinsasikumar Vaccimulgence : Word of the dairy
I didn’t find many poems to fancy with this word, but I do want to share two – I think I can call them free verse poems:
RT @dmriver After school innocent jersey eyes, far paddock makes no sense. Liking your small boy green grass walk, yarded for morning vaccimulgence.
RT @kado56 Morning head on soft heaving flank, rustle, thud of straw shod hoof, grind of cud, singing jet, fingers milk warm, sticky vaccimulgence.
Two pieces with feeling and sentiment. But before we all get misty eyed :
RT @Anamuk Trying to write an edward jenner clerihew, but vaccimulgence just won’t do
I applaud the attempt @Anamuk! I also enjoyed this next:
RT @baccatum Vaccimulgence: Draining Miss Daisy.
Faced with a WOTD that leaves me going “Wha’?” I sometimes turn to anagrams, not, I fear with nearly same success as @DrMobs today:
RT @DrMobs Vaccimulgence ailing? Evangelic calcium gin! #anagrampoetry
I was wondering what dire incident of death would occur involving this word in Texas, and @marcosarroyos did not disappoint:
RT @marcosarroyos While Wilbur walked to the barn for vaccimulgence, he heard a whoosh sound. A meteorite struck him in the head killing him on the spot.
Inevitably, I suppose, there were a whole crop of tweets involving male sexual stimulation (human and animal). This was far and away the best:
RT @StarOfSavannah In a drunken stupor, Bucolic Buck the Alcoholic attempted vaccimulgence… on a bull. He was promptly gored to death.
Now I’m going to RT just one tweet from @MinDavidWilson but I want to applaude his efforts to create a story in tweets woven around todays word. A braver man than I!
RT @MinDavidWilson “Hey Squirt, just called to tell you that you’ve been hired as our new director of vaccimulgence.” #artwiculate
To wind up, three tweets I can’t catagorise but that I enjoyed even so:
RT @JonPowles Jack found being staff photographer on “Cow and Vaccimulgence Monthly” tiresome. But he got the odd money shot.
RT @routermonkey Bob tried to build on the success of his U-Pick Berry Farm with a U-Squeeze Vaccimulgence Farm, but it never caught on.
RT @soarski In the autobovinography Diary Of A Mad Cow there was too much vaccimulgence and too little bull in the chapter The Dairy Years. #artwiculate
There you have it, TheSupercargo’s RT roundup for the day. And remember, it’s a new month, so new opportunities to win a coveted place in the month’s top 5! Go for it, Artwiculati!
Revisited and revised for polish, spelling and SEO fine-tuning and addition of new featured image, 21 March 2017.