Statistics and Sentiment: A Report
on the digital essay ‘Kafka’s Wound’
by Will Self for the LRB and The
Space
Helen Jeffr...
- 1 -
Table of Contents
Page No
1. Introduction 2
2. Sentiment 3
3. Statistics 4
4. Conclusions 5
Appendices
Appendix A Tw...
- 2 -
1. Introduction
Could there be a way to embellish the unadorned line of the text without losing the
impetus and cohe...
- 3 -
2. Sentiment
“@RMSYL: Will Self's Digital Essay ‘Kafka's Wound’ is what the Internet was made
for. End of. Switch of...
- 4 -
3. Statistics
Google Analytics reports for the ‘Writer’s Blog’ from 1st
May 2012 to 8th
August 2012
can be found in ...
- 5 -
4. Conclusions
The ‘Writer’s Blog’ element of the project performed relatively well within the
parameters set for it...
- 6 -
Appendix A
Tweets recorded in the first 30 days of the project
@lynnna_k http://t.co/ggKZOWoh What do you think abou...
- 7 -
@ernestopriego: Kafka’s Wound, a digital essay by Will Self http://t.co/EAvNzaIp via
@thespacearts #digitalhumanitie...
- 8 -
enough: Will Self's multimedia essay for @LRB and @ace_national, "Kafka's Wound." Go
explore!http://t.co/78ZSuRRj
Da...
- 9 -
Maybe I'm hopelessly behind, but I've not seen this presentation before in a "digital essay."
Very interesting. http...
- 10 -
Appendix B
Google Analytics reports for the ‘Writer’s Blog’
from 1st
May 2012 to 8th
August 2012
- 11 -
- 12 -
Appendix C
Google Analytics reports for ‘Kafka’s Wound’
from 9th
August 2012 to 8th
August 2013
- 13 -
- 14 -
- 15 -
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Statistics and sentiment a report on the digital essay 'Kafka's Wound' by Will Self for the LRB and The Space

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Statistics and Sentiment: A Report
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Statistics and sentiment a report on the digital essay 'Kafka's Wound' by Will Self for the LRB and The Space

  1. 1. Statistics and Sentiment: A Report on the digital essay ‘Kafka’s Wound’ by Will Self for the LRB and The Space Helen Jeffrey Associate Publisher London Review of Books September 2013
  2. 2. - 1 - Table of Contents Page No 1. Introduction 2 2. Sentiment 3 3. Statistics 4 4. Conclusions 5 Appendices Appendix A Tweets recorded in the first 30 days of the project Appendix B Google Analytics reports for the ‘Writer’s Blog’ from 1st May 2012 to 8th August 2012 Appendix C Google Analytics reports for ‘Kafka’s Wound’ from 9th August 2012 to 8th August 2013
  3. 3. - 2 - 1. Introduction Could there be a way to embellish the unadorned line of the text without losing the impetus and coherence of the reading experience? Could we create a rhythmic flow in and out of the sequence of sentences, to take in other texts, video and audio material, pictures and photographs, so that reading becomes multidimensional but not merely fragmentary? Will enriching the line of a text deepen it or confuse it, energise it or dissipate its élan? ‘Kafka’s Wound’ is an innovative project that re-imagines the literary essay for the digital age. It was commissioned from the London Review of Books for The Space – an experimental digital arts platform developed by the Arts Council in partnership with the BBC. The London Review of Books wanted to create a digital literary work that pushed the boundaries of the literary essay well beyond its traditional form; using digital technology to loosen and enhance the structure of the essay, changing the way the reader interacts with the text. The project depended on the engagement of a writer who was both a leading exponent of the literary essay and inspired by the potential of digital media to expand and deepen the essay form; the London Review of Books commissioned novelist and essayist Will Self. The project was approached as an experiment, an exercise in co-creation and collaboration. It was seen as an opportunity to embrace an element of risk. Will Self, as Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University, suggested approaching the University putting forward the idea of involving academics from the School of Arts in the project; inviting them to submit creative digital responses to the Kafka short story: “We aim to produce a digital literary essay that is 'through composed', weaving together all media: computer graphics, music, filmed performance, video diary and linked data into something that will hopefully fully express the praxis involved in composing a literary essay.” Implicit in the form and content of Kafka’s Wound was the notion that by through- composing the essay with wide array of co-collaborators, Will Self’s original thesis could be collectively mediated through a feedback loop of other perspectives. By blogging on the overall thinking behind the essay, and then continuing to blog while material was being assembled and the site designed, Will Self hoped to give rise to a novel form of creative and scholarly multi-disciplinary digital publication. This ‘Writer’s Blog’ went live on 10th May 2012 www.thespace.lrb.co.uk/blog. In terms of the essay itself, there was to be no compromise in quality, depth or length. It would be as demanding of the reader as a typical LRB essay, with no introduction or explanation. The digital essay went live on 9th August 2012 www.thespace.lrb.co.uk.
  4. 4. - 3 - 2. Sentiment “@RMSYL: Will Self's Digital Essay ‘Kafka's Wound’ is what the Internet was made for. End of. Switch off. Buy a typewriter. http://t.co/Q9TbwKcZ“ In the 30 days after ‘Kafka’s Wound’ went live tweets referring to the essay were monitored in order to gauge the response of the public to the project. Tweets that are original (not re-tweets), and expressed a level of judgement or opinion were recorded. Tweets by influential individuals were also identified. These can be found in Appendix A. An analysis of the tweets showed that 96% were positive, with only 4% negative. It was a policy of The Space to exclude the option for public commenting on any project directly.
  5. 5. - 4 - 3. Statistics Google Analytics reports for the ‘Writer’s Blog’ from 1st May 2012 to 8th August 2012 can be found in Appendix B and reports for ‘Kafka’s Wound’ from 9th August 2012 to 8th August 2013 can be found in Appendix C. The ‘Writer’s Blog’, documenting the early part of the project, had 3,239 visits, 6,988 page-views, and 2,100 unique visitors from 1st May 2012 to 8 August 2012, mainly from the UK (62%). Significant global audiences have engaged with the digital essay in the first year, from 9th August 2012 to 8th August 2013. There were 49,208 visits from 152 different countries/territories. There were 118,165 page-views and 30,569 unique visitors in that time although the unique visitors number is likely to be somewhat overstated as some individuals will be using more than one device and they will be recorded more than once. The ‘average visit’ duration is comparatively high (7+ minutes). It actuality the time on site is likely to be much higher as the recording algorithm used by Google for this metric can only be used comparatively. Returning visitor numbers are high (39%); as readers return to the site on the same device and re-engage with the content. The bounce-rate is low (2.6%) evidencing positive engagement as it implies the large majority of readers are exploring at least one page beyond the page on which they initially land. The average pages-per-visit figure of 2.40 and again this indicates that readers are engaging with more than one element of the work. It could be surmised that the majority of readers are exploring beyond the text and engaging with the additional content. The UK represents 43% of visits with USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, India and Brazil sending high levels of traffic. It is interesting to see countries where English is not the native language performing well. Referral traffic is the strongest driver of visits (50%) with 452 different referrers. The top referrers are the LRB and The Space. Social sharing sites perform well; twitter and Facebook account for 24% of all referrals. Organic search, such as Google, accounts for 22% of visits but no one search term stands out as significant. Direct visits (28%) can indicate that the site has been bookmarked for return visits.
  6. 6. - 5 - 4. Conclusions The ‘Writer’s Blog’ element of the project performed relatively well within the parameters set for it. Due to time constraints and other external events the feed- back loop process the blog was designed to support, in terms of moderation of Will Self’s initial thesis, was limited to one iteration. There is scope for further exploration of this approach in other collaborative projects. In the first year ‘Kafka’s Wound’ has attracted a significant global audience, and has performed beyond expectations, particularly considering the low-level of traditional marketing for the project. Visitors to the site have displayed high levels of engagement and the numbers returning to the site are high. Social sharing and recommendation has been a key driver of visits. The sentiment expressed via twitter during the initial 30 days after the project went live shows an extremely positive response to the digital essay from a range of different perspectives. Considering all the above it could be argued that, in terms of audience and sentiment, the project has delivered a positive response to all three of the original questions: Could there be a way to embellish the unadorned line of the text without losing the impetus and coherence of the reading experience? Could we create a rhythmic flow in and out of the sequence of sentences, to take in other texts, video and audio material, pictures and photographs, so that reading becomes multidimensional but not merely fragmentary? Will enriching the line of a text deepen it or confuse it, energise it or dissipate its élan?
  7. 7. - 6 - Appendix A Tweets recorded in the first 30 days of the project @lynnna_k http://t.co/ggKZOWoh What do you think about The Space experiment of a digital essay - contextual layers on top of thoughts on Kafka? #ux @unhilarious @eclecticV Amazing essay on Kafka. Thought you'd like this site. Very interactive and incorporates interesting elementshttp://t.co/DyiQAQTE @Sylent_Wryter This is one of the best, if not the best, postmodern essay on Franz Kafka from @wself. Bravo! http://t.co/EPFVfgQJ @collectormaniac Watching a panel discuss one of the most interesting things from the LRB lately, their digital essay 'Kafka's Wound.'http://t.co/dUhaIciI @saltpublishing Will Self discussing the digital essay http://t.co/JT2xPZbZ @ramonakoval I'm still excited about this digital essay form: "I am guilty of an association of ideas" http://t.co/Yml2Jta1 via @thespacearts @billt paradigmatic, proto-form or particularist? how much of a model for future digital essays is @wself Kafka's Wound? @lrbshop@thespacearts @hannah_gregory W. Self, usually tech-luddite, authors digital essay set amongst spiralling contextual material http://t.co/IH0fc9sw#thespacearts @LRB [!] @JoshAJHall This is interesting. Will Self 'digital essay' with cleverly embedded media: http://t.co/TircXKhd @weareneon lovely project - Kafka’s Wound http://t.co/djHs5BGt via @thespacearts @literacyadviser This is really quite amazing. RT @alancoady: A truly multi-media experience: http://t.co/gXxlUTrj http://t.co/FBFDba0I @dansumption Nice way of navigating London Review of Books - reminds me of Netscape plugins from 1996: http://t.co/5iKE85hX /via @digitalmaverick @brigetmck Really impressive multimodal literature experiment http://t.co/VURmUnpr @kmcg2375 A 'digital essay'. Like, wow! #ozengchat http://t.co/YGR8htSG #genre #text_type #multimodal #digital #essay @shomeshome: London literary circles abuzz about this 'digital essay' authored by Will Self (on Kafka): http://t.co/OXHMu61U @Garyhomewood: "Kafka's Wound" a digital essay by Will Self http://t.co/8FEZa1HD with on-trend force-directed graph @billt: @imhelenj It worked a lot better than I thought it would… seen too many failed attempts to de-linearise a text that lose all engagement too! @RMSYL: Will Self's Digital Essay "Kafka's Wound" is what the Internet was made for. End of. Switch off. Buy atypewriter.http://t.co/Q9TbwKcZ @A_Filter: LRB and Will Self begin exploration of the potential of the literary essay in digital form: ‘Kafka’s Wound’http://t.co/AX1bWOIX @Panglossnotes: Will Self, over at Brunel for a time, LRB & 70 others make a digital literary essay: Kafka’s Wound. Coolhttp://t.co/KIAOHDjU
  8. 8. - 7 - @ernestopriego: Kafka’s Wound, a digital essay by Will Self http://t.co/EAvNzaIp via @thespacearts #digitalhumanities @psychemedia: Interesting graph navigation and inline annotation scheme for new Will Self essay http://t.co/rw9utRHg /via @imhelenj @NazlinBhimani: Envisage #research output with #data etc as a digital document - see coll. Brunel & @lrb in Will Self's Kafka’s Wound http://t.co/5aIxXpvs @graham_hitchen: This essay by Will Self, courtesy of @lrb and others, is beautifully presented- reading on-line won't be the same again http://t.co/PCER5wXq @santanuvasant: Will Self's Digital literacy essay - great idea and website! Check it out! #elearning #edtech #digitalage #bbchttp://t.co/e4s4Re1P @alastairdunning: The digital essay Kafka's Wound illustrates how archival content can be channelled into creative thinking.http://t.co/dl3waJKk @Chi_Humanities: We're not sure we understand Will Self's digital essay "Kafka's Wound" - but we are very intrigued! -http://t.co/aogmTJVp @WellcomeLibrary: We really do encourage you to take a look at "Kafka's Wound" : A digital essay by @wself via @LRBhttp://t.co/wOqeQF7N @penguinpress: The @LRB asked Will Self to break & enhance the digital essay. He responds with "Kafka's Wound":http://t.co/CWqEXR96 @nightowlspress: This essay by Will Self is a multimedia project. Like the concept and digital presentation. http://t.co/UIH7E87Yhttp://t.co/LnghIgzH @kumquatpoetry: Kafka’s Wound http://t.co/CAxugMVW via @thespaceartsomfg. the essay. reborn. SO. EXCITING. We just shivered with pleasure & amazement. Wow. @ParagrapheBooks: Novelist and essayist Will Self and the @LRB have put together a sensational online multimedia essay "Kafka's Wound" | http://t.co/IumSCWMD @CirculolecRoma: Kafka’s Wound: A Multimedia Treat: The London Review of Books sought out Will Self to help create “a digital lit...http://t.co/9iHfIqgO @Butterflew12: Is this the new standard format for academic writing? Will Self's digital essay http://thespace.lrb.co.uk/ #digitalhumanities Will this be the new standard format for academic writing? “@LRB: Now live: 'Kafka's Wound', Will Self's digital essay http://t.co/dOoeaXMb” @WelshIrvineFairplay. Nicely said. Just reading a fantastic essay here on Kafka, by Will Self, if you're interested - http://t.co/k15b7zLi @stepquietly this is brilliant. digital essay on kafka http://t.co/xWMgMPRz Anyone care to feel inadequate? Will Self's digital Kafka essay should help: http://t.co/gy76mWEL @MsAMR25 Already been reading it since @wself posted about it yesterday! I agree, it's brilliant! #kafka An absolutely brilliant use of the web. http://t.co/AHElXspg http://t.co/dhIGWogG Three days after discovering it can I now say I have finished Will Self's Digital Essay? No! Endless exploration... @The_Millions 'The indispensable literary site' - @nytimes | 'Lots of reasons to love The Millions' - @GuardianBooks | 'A fantastic website' - @UtneReader Can't recommend this
  9. 9. - 8 - enough: Will Self's multimedia essay for @LRB and @ace_national, "Kafka's Wound." Go explore!http://t.co/78ZSuRRj Dan Franklin (Digital Publisher at Random House) When did KAFKA'S WOUND go up on @thespacearts? It's extraordinary. A digital essay done right on the web: http://t.co/BHNxdEmW @trvoridge: Digital ideas person for Somethin’Else. Produced @RichardDawkins book app Magic of Reality for iPad. Cool thing of the day comes from @LRB, Will Self and The Space: annotated digital essay with lots of STUFF in it http://t.co/wovg2a2f @Jderbyshire culture editor at the New Satesman Marvellous stuff: @wself's "digital essay" on Kafka http://t.co/DSobhWeF @elizabethminkel Usually working at the @newyorker. Often writing about books. THIS is what I'm talking about: http://t.co/Cz31HyKu (All essays need to become digital multimedia essays. Now.) (via @The_Millions ) Brilliant digital essay Kafka's Wound by @willself includes research images, film, archives inside the text http://t.co/NvSAB9JZ Swish #digital #essay from @wself with a nice #UI. The text stands on its own for any academics: Kafka’s Wound http://t.co/DKqSoUPivia @LRB Beautifully-annotated piece on The Space from Will Self, discussing Kafka: http://t.co/hL3Da10Z Wow. @wself's digital essay on Kafka http://t.co/mJdKjSCB Kafka essay by @wself's footnotes text with digital mediahttp://t.co/mJdKjSCB > Question is, how to footnote video in the same way? The future is here? Will Self's 'digital essay' http://t.co/mt0zMjhW This interactive essay on Kafta, by Will Self @wself is clearly groundbreaking. http://t.co/aVWWb5g2 Games and machinima have their part. Nerds: crack open a beer and spend an hour or two exploring Will Self's 'digital essay' on Kafka. Bloody brilliant. http://t.co/6VRQYwTP All about @wself this month! Crazy digital essay on Kafka's Wound! http://t.co/oYAhLdop Kafka’s Wound http://t.co/Se6HyIvJ via @LRB life unwound!! Damn you @wself - had my friday morning planned out til I lost an hour in your magnificent digital Kafka - brilliant thanks. Aaron Meek this is great, one of the best realised 'digital' essays i've seen. would love to see more like this in the future. Now this is how you publish an essay on the Internet. 'Kafka’s Wound' http://t.co/Z4DQ60NN (via @LRB) @LRB gets very tech fancy pants "Kafka’s Wound: A Digital Literary Essay" by Will Self http://t.co/DqcFrT2S #helpme Simply brilliant - and a model for the future scholarly edition, as well as essay RT @LRB Will Self's 'Kafka's Wound':http://t.co/BCGDqEd4” How do you make digital essays look amazing? Like this: Kafka’s Wound by Will Self. http://t.co/WOC0K5TQ via @LRB nice & neat experience RT @LRB Now live: 'Kafka's Wound', Will Self's digital essay:http://t.co/0d8kkVG3 @thespacearts
  10. 10. - 9 - Maybe I'm hopelessly behind, but I've not seen this presentation before in a "digital essay." Very interesting. http://t.co/S0GGuISE worth a look - kafka's wound - an experimental "digital essay" by @wself on @lrbhttp://t.co/7vvib2ZJ "A different kind of literary essay" Will Self's amazing @LRB essay project, ‘Kafka’s Wound’ is now online http://t.co/6yiunRMv VERY cool 'digital essay' from @LRB http://t.co/VvL3h0jo Negative: I love Will Self, but this has to be the most pretentious thing ever http://t.co/K24ku6XA Will Self's digital essay from the LRB. Interesting or slightly confused folly? http://t.co/RdqNXC3X I'd like to see a non-linear digital essay made of text blocks and additions that re-arrange themselves when being read. @exislemoll @wself A true digital essay would take into consideration the way people read online. @wself 's linear text was written to be printed, not explored
  11. 11. - 10 - Appendix B Google Analytics reports for the ‘Writer’s Blog’ from 1st May 2012 to 8th August 2012
  12. 12. - 11 -
  13. 13. - 12 - Appendix C Google Analytics reports for ‘Kafka’s Wound’ from 9th August 2012 to 8th August 2013
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