What’s Next? #westwing Fan fiction on Twitter

A week or so ago I started following Josiah Bartlet on Twitter. Turned out he was already following me, as he likes to follow people who are tagging tweets #westwing. I don’t get a lot of the references to contemporary American politics in his tweets, but there’s the occasional reference to the show and a good attempt at some of the classical witticisms and bon mots of the “Former Fictional President, Nobel Prize Winner”. 

But then I spotted something: Jed’s talking to other West Wing characters, who in turn are having conversations with other characters. Josh & Donna (now Donna Moss-Lyman) are chatting about their kids and other domestic niceties, swapping baking tips with Leo’s PA Margaret. CJ & Charlie are still engaged in an escalating battle of one-upmanship, which is currently focussed on their follower count. Meanwhile, Ron Butterfield, head of the POTUS security detail is obsessing about how to keep these Tweets secure (Ron’s also a dab hand at hashtagging, probably those years of protocol).

There are a few duplicated characters out there, but this list consists of accounts which are talking to each other, creating their own narrative world (the list view is the best way to track their chat).


Now it could be that some or all of these accounts know each other in real life, or this could be some spontaneous role play. My guess it’s somewhere down the middle: some people have real life connections, some don’t and have just been drawn into the conversation either by chance or by design. I’d also guess they’re all alts for people who have their own personal Twitter accounts (they all seem to get Twitter, so they won’t have come on board just to do this). Some of the accounts might even be run by the same person (it’d be a bit creepy if Donna and Josh are the same person).

It would be interesting to find out how this fan fiction came about, so if you’re one of the “actors” do drop me a line.

In the meantime if you’ve always fancied working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, The President has suggested a few roles that need to be filled.

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Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jonhickman Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: http://interactivecultures.org

  • Mary

    Yes, these are the ‘creation’ of one person. Be afraid…be very afraid. The creator is one of those internet people not quite attached to reality…While some may view it as a bit of fun, this WW fan backs slowly away, not making any sudden moves!

  • Jon Hickman

    Really? You know who it is? They’re very good if they’re playing all the roles

  • Mary

    I only ‘know’ this person via Twitter but her immersion in and obsession with this show allows her to write for each character – she knows them all very,very well,lol.

  • joshualyman

    OOC: I loathe breaking character, but feel I must. The twitter account for @joshualyman is one person, who doesn’t have other characters. (Though you are correct in surmising I have a personal twitter.)I believe most of the other accounts which sprung up were groups of friends, but I don’t do a lot of OOC chatter even via PM or email, so I can’t tell you what they are all about…

  • Jon Hickman

    Josh – I don’t know why I didn’t spot your comment earlier, apologies for a very late reply. Thanks so much for stopping by and clarifying those points.Since I wrote this a colleague and I have been doing a little research into fan fiction on Twitter. We’re actually giving a paper on it on Friday. We’d really love a chat some time (skype or email) if you can spare us some time. DM me on Twitter so I know it’s you (I’m following your account now, rather than just your WW colleagues list)

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