Friday 27 May 2011


OK, so you know I'm a Twitter fan. Hell, I'm writing a book on the subject (which is why I recently took down my series of how-to-tweet posts). But yesterday something very unexpected happened to me on Twitter. It was entirely unplanned but, by chance, it brought followers and attention. Oh, and people berated me for embroiling them in a hopelessly addictive game.

A few minutes after the tweets saying I was No 2 in the US, this screenshot shows #lessinterestingbooks at No 1 worldwide
This is the strange story of how your very own Crabbit accidentally created the No 1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter. It was just a game but it's still going strong the following morning and I have no idea when, or how, it will stop. I have created a monster.

It is a game called #lessinterestingbooks

It knocked Cheryl Cole off (sorry) the No 1 slot. Was way ahead of Ryan (who he?) Giggs. OK, so in the US you probably haven't heard of them - though you would have heard of Cheryl Cole if you'd been able to understand her and she hadn't been removed... Oh, for goodness' sake, I am not here to talk about her.

Here's what happened.

I was on Twitter during my coffee break. (In answer to my husband, who said, "Why weren't you working?") And someone mentioned reading Lord of the Flies. But I briefly misread that as Lord of the Files. And I thought how much less interesting the book would have been if it had been called Lord of the Files.

Such is the incredible profundity of this creative mind. Not that I didn't have a lot more important things to do than becoming No 1 on Twitter, of course.

So, I tweeted: Lord of the Files #lessinterestingbooks

I followed up with something like Jude the Fairly Obvious #lessinterestingbooks

Within seconds, people were joining in. Within about half an hour someone told me that the game was No 2 in the UK trending charts. Soon after, it was No 1 worldwide. Excuse me while I retrieve my jaw from somewhere south.

The world had gone mad. If you searched the phrase #lessinterestingbooks, the tweets in that stream were coming so fast you could barely read them. Twelve hours later they are still coming way too fast to read. I actually think they are getting faster. It is still No 1 in every English-speaking country and varies between No 1 and 2 worldwide as a whole.

And all because I misread Lord of the Flies. Thank goodness for near-dyslexia, eh?

So, apart from a) wasting a bit of time and b) making thousands (hundreds of thousands? Oh, the power!) of others waste some time, what did I achieve?

Hmmm. Some new followers, but I don't go looking for them anyway and i don't measure success on Twitter by number of followers. Some people who might buy my books? Maybe. (Go on - you know you want to!) Fun? Oh yes. Something to blog about? Well, you're here, aren't you? Food for thought? Yup, indeedy. Money? ;((((((((((((

I impressed my family anyway. They never thought I'd be No 1 worldwide for anything.

But so what? Didn't I just waste my time and that of others? Well, not necessarily. One thing leads to another. What that other might be, I don't yet know. (*taps fingers*) The jury is absolutely still out on whether there will be any positive results other than impressing my family. But I didn't do it for that. I did it on a creative whim and if something comes of that then that's the point of creative whims. It's for others to analyse what happened today and what it means for viral marketing campaigns. I found it interesting (intellectually - and I'm still theorising about it, vaguely), inspiring, weird, fascinating, stimulating, confusing and a whole load of fun.

Fun? What, you'd like to join in? Come on....

Animal Allotment #lessinterestingbooks
The Grapes of Mild Irritation #lessinterestingbooks
Jude the Fairly Obvious #lessinterestingbooks
To Slightly Bruise a Mockingbird #lessinterestingbooks
The Slight Peckishness Games #lessinterestingbooks
Mediocre Expectations #lessinterestingbooks
Mein Kampsite #lessinterestingbooks
War and Peas #lessinterestingbooks

Go on - you know you want to! Oh, and let's have a prize - a crabbit bag is on offer for an entry picked at random from comments below. Deadline is midday (UK time) 1st June - publication day of Write to be Published, as if you didn't know...

Edited to add; the game is now also on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know it was you who started it! I'm very impressed :)

I have it as a saved search and click back every now and then for a giggle. Well done!

Rebecca Brown said...

You are a very bad influence indeed. *goes off to look at bookshelves to find some more, leaving poor neglected WIP on table*

Mike Jarman said...

Get you. You trendy trendsetter you!

"The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo"
"Knickerless Nickleby"
Mind you, they could qualify for #moreinterestingnooks

Many congratulations, Nicola. We are all in awe!

Whirlochre said...

Checked into Twitter late last night as I crawled into bed. This kept me up for another half an hour like a health tonic splashed on a corpse. Great fun.

Janet O'Kane said...

I haven't had as much fun since #chickenfilms. Thanks for encouraging me to start tweeting. I'm now addicted. I hope your fame translates into lots of book sales.

Rebecca Bradley said...

Wow, I'm impressed. That must be a very bizarre feeling seeing it take off that way after it being such a random comment, after all, we often hashtag our thoughts. I will have to look it up later.

As for the #lessinterestingbook comment, I'm about to head out of the door to work and my creativity is still asleep, so looking at the book on the desk in front of me, mine would be Write to be binned ;-)

AimeeLSalter said...

How about...

"The Tabby, the Wiccen Apprentice and the Pantry"
"Watership Teetering-But-Will-Right-Itself"
"Of Mice and Zen"
"Little House on the Plot Next Door"

...oh, I could do this all night. You're a very, very bad influence.

rodgriff said...

So unjust, all my kids are dyslexic and I think I inherited it from them. We have been misreading book titles and street adverts for years and had no idea we were international trend setters.

Patsy said...

Write to Join the Slush Pile.

Katherine Langrish said...

It was brilliant - probably still is, but I daren't go back and check...

JO said...

I don't Twitter, so have no idea if these are original:

The Grass Seed Game
The Lion, The Bitch and The Wardrobe
Washington Cube
A Handmaid's Snail
The Tale of Jemima Puddlefuck.

Now to get back to editing!

Unknown said...

I didn't know you started it either! I was at it (the game) on Twitter yesterday when should have been writing very important emails. I had fun, though!

Delia Lloyd said...

This story made my day, Nicola. Going to put it on my Friday Pix on my blog. Love the random creativity thing...shows why twitter really can rock *and* be lots of fun.

Delia Lloyd

catdownunder said...

On a purr rating of one to ten this is a ten!

Queenie said...

Harry Potter and the Half-Price Mince.
Sponge Bag Spare Pants.
The Hoarse Whisperer.
Paddington Bore.

Dan Holloway said...

so that was your fault, was it!

Much chuckling yesterday - I love those hashtags (often far less polite - I remember #badpornfilms and #replacelovewithw*nkfilms [less the asterisk of course] among others)

I seem to remember contributing

Kitchenette (Banana Yoshimoto)
Being and Not Very Much (Sartre)

I will now try not to spend the rest of the day playing :)

Unknown said...

"Chess Club"

But remember, the first rule of Chess Club is you don't talk about Chess Club.

Emma said...

Love it! :-D

How about...

Stig of the Frighteningly Tidy Suburban Semi
Looking for Baked Alaska
The Jam Jar
Last Week When the War Hadn't Started

Dan Holloway said...

We Can Remember it for You at Slightly Less than RRP (Philip K Dick)

Zannah said...

It was a ridiculous amount of fun - and will prove a useful invention for long car journeys this summer

Debs Riccio said...

Oh PLEASE pick Queenie's hilarious 'Harry Potter and the Half Price Mince' - I can't stop laughing!

Margaret H said...

I switched on my computer this morning to find one of my US author friends playing #lessinterestingbooks. I had no idea you started it all!

Elaine said...

Ah so it's you I have to blame for my wasted (yet very enjoyable) morning!

Here's a few of my attempts this morning under twitter guise of OpheliaNightly:

The Hall of the House of Usher
Harry Potter & the Deathly Marrows
The Life of Pie
The Similarlion
Cat on a Temperate Tin Roof
Lady Chatterly's Liver
We Need To Talk About Kevin Webster
Midnight in the Garden of Gouda and Edam

I could continue but i've wasted most of my day reading/writing these! Must go do something productive.

Great blog by the way.


Debi said...

This was my intro to Twitter and, in spite of Queenie's assurance to the contrary, it took hours of my time. But they were all spent laughing and contributing.

I thought of these after I'd finally logged off:
Apple Juice with Rosie
Dr Maybe
Cold Comfort Smallholding.

Anonymous said...

Finally, I 'get' what twitter is for! How about:
The Count of Minty Crest
Bridget Jones' Palm Pilot
Delia Smith's Complete ShoppingList
Write to General Indifference

Kath McGurl said...

Wow, a world number 1!

I'm not on Twitter so sadly missed all this and had a very productive day at work instead. :-p

How about:
The Tube Traveller's Wife
Love in the Time of Mumps
One Hundred Seconds of Solitude
The Perfectly Adequate Mother's Handbook
Mondays Are After Sundays

Kath McGurl said...

I hate you for putting it on Facebook. Am trying to finish a chapter and am just wasting time thinking of more.

Road Atlas (David Mitchell)

Katalin Havasi said...

Congratulations Nicola!

You've inspired me to create these:

Oliver Tweet
A Tail of Two Cities
David Hopperfield
Nickel-less Nickleby
Bridget Jones' Diarrhoea

Have a wonderful day,

P.S. First time on your blog... I totally enjoy your style.

Marina said...

Argh. It's insufferably and hilariously addictive! Although must say it's the very first time I've had an inklng of what Twitter's about!

Here follows the product of some agreeable time-wasting:

The Inheritance of Lip-Gloss

The Sprinkler Question

Alsatian Hall

The Line of Slightly Attractive

True History of the Kelly Evening Club

The Visually Impaired Assassin

The White Domestic Cat

Pride and Mild Dislike

His Dark Pullover

Jane Ear

Alice’s Adventures in a Hole in the Ground

.....and now must get back to my very own #lessinterestingbook... !

Taffy said...

Here is one just for you!

7 Habits of Highly Distracting People

widdershins said...

You wicked Old Babbity Crat

Sherri said...

How about

Captain Corelli's Banjo
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightie
She Stoops to Concur
East of Ealing

(I don't tweet, so apologies if others got there first!)

Mark Anderson said...

The Holy Bobble
Alice in Poundland
Around Woolworths in Eighty Days
Journey to the Centre of Town
Heart of Subdued Lighting
Tasteful House

Hektor Karl said...

My contribution:

The Moon is an Annoying Cousin
The Meta-neuroses

Marina said...

oh dear... thought of another one.

Far From the Usual Crowd

(I also have to make the disclaimer of the Twitter-free, terribly sorry I've accidentally stolen ideas).

Marina said...


Amy Slack said...

Charlie and the Chocolate Bar
Alice in Wolverhampton
The Life of Pea
The Devil Wears Primark
The Watermelon Massacre

^How are those? :)

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

May I recommend Dostoevsky's twin masterpieces:

Crime and Getting Away With It


The Brothers Baldwin

Aimée said...

I love this game! Had a blast following the hashtag yesterday.

Harry Potter and the Stoned Philosopher

Beach of Sand and Fog

Thirteen Reasons Why Not

Daytime in the Garden of Good and Neutrality

Water for Aardvarks

Me Talk Poorly One Day

Pretty Little Truth-tellers

The Commoner Diaries

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Water

Harry Potter and the Cone of Silence (...Chamber of Secrets, in case that wasn't obvious)

Could go on for ages. Brilliant!

Rebecca Bradley said...

It really taken on a life of it's own. It's made it onto the blogging world. Check this out!

Dolly said...

This is fun. Here are mine:

The Two Bookends
The Return of the Servant
Sons and Ex-husbands
Servant of the Skeleton
The Art of Crabbit ;)

Elvira said...

What happened yesterday? Many of your new facebook fans were completely stymied as the entire page went, vanished, disappeared as though it had never been, to be intermittently replaced by Nikon ads.... what???

Anyway, very glad it's back, we're all having a lovely time. Bravo


Jacqueline Pue said...

Not sure if Facebook ideas count, so this is a repeat.

Dial M for Myrrh.

Jacqueline Pye said...

Sorry. Name is Jacqueline Pye.

Elvira said...

Now things are getting very peculiar: not only has the facebook page been hacked by the Nikon ads again, but all the 'likes' have gone. What's more, the comment I posted here this morning has also disappeared. Curiouser and curiouser... not even the grin is left from this particular cat!

Keith Havers said...

I've never been on Twitter but this looks like fun. So here's a couple of possible Enid Blytons:
Noddy in Poundland.
Five just stay at home and watch telly.

ihunger said...

Here were my contributions (@iHunger):

War and Peas #lessinterestingbooks

Gulliver's Stay at Home Vacation #lessinterestingbooks

Around the World in 90 minutes #lessinterestingbooks

Call of the Mild #lessinterestingbooks

Interview with a Vegetarian #lessinterestingbooks

Harry Potter and the room of common knowledge #lessinterestingbooks

Beginners Game #lessinterestingbooks