The current print issue of CJR includes a profile—online today!—of the music critic Christopher Weingarten by Justin Peters. In addition to freelancing for a range of publications, Weingarten posts record reviews on Twitter under the name “1000TimesYes”; when he decided to make printed versions of his 2009 tweet-reviews available for purchase, the sale generated over eleven hundred dollars—“making Weingarten,” Peters writes, “one of the few people so far to have successfully monetized Twitter.”
As it happens, another of the hardy few to pull off the feat has also been the news lately. Wednesday’s New York Times included a story about Justin Halpern, the 29-year-old Maxim.com writer behind the Shit My Dad Says Twitter page. (Sample: “Does anyone your age know how to comb their fucking hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their head and started fucking.”) A book inspired by the senior Halpern’s witticisms will reportedly debut at No. 8 on the Times best-seller list this weekend, and a sitcom titled Bleep My Dad Says—or, according to some sources, $#*! My Dad Says—will debut on CBS in primetime this fall. (The producers wisely cast William Shatner, who’s shown he knows how to read a tweet, in the starring role.)
I wouldn’t blame Weingarten if he felt a wee bit jealous—while his modest Twitter-related earnings stem from a thousand original tweet-reviews produced over the course of a year, the foundation for Halpern’s newfound success is, according to the Times, 119 threads of 140 characters or less. Still, good luck to both of them, and to everyone else who’s trying to make a living—or just a buck—in the brave new media world.