Web app turns social network members into authors

The newly launched LiveBook community book-writing application lets Facebook and Bebo members view an evolving manuscript, propose the next sentence, or vote on a pending next sentence.

The book's opening line is: "Helen has just registered on Facebook."

Sentence two, if it gets enough votes by Facebook users, would be: "Friends have been telling her for a long time to do this, but for some reason she had continually postponed this moment. Why? She could not answer this question exactly."

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The rest is up to online wordsmiths who choose to install a community book-writing application called LiveBook, launched on Tuesday by both Facebook and the Bebo social network.

In a sort of Exquisite Corpse game for the Web 2.0 set, LiveBook, for now anyway, involves two books: the aforementioned story about Helen, in progress by Facebook members; and a totally separate story Bebo users are writing about a fictitious newly joined member, Brian.

Users who install the LiveBook application can view the evolving manuscript, propose the next sentence, and/or vote on a pending next sentence. The first sentence to collect 10 votes will be entered into the book.

LiveBook claims it's the first known "attempt to give writing a book completely over to the will of a free community of social networks."

I'm particularly interested to see what happens to Helen, who for now anyway, has a lot in common with me...I had to register to Facebook for the first time to check out the app. I might propose this next sentence: "Now she is completely buried in friend-related e-mails and can't get any of her work done."

About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.

 

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