Today marks the launch of a new Twitter feed, @EbertVoices.
This account will offer links to RogerEbert.com essays, reviews and videos, and links to other material on the Internet that we think you should know about. It is not any one person's account. It is ticker for the site itself, representing the collective entity that is RogerEbert.com.
It took a while to launch @EbertVoices. You can guess why, but I'll summarize the behind-the-scenes wrangling for posterity's sake.
Roger Ebert was one-of-a-kind—we all know that—and so was his Twitter feed, @EbertChicago. It was one of the most popular and influential accounts on Twitter, because it was Roger's.
Scratch that possessive: it was Roger. Period.
@EbertChicago was the gateway voice that led to all of his other voices—as a critic, essayist, profile writer and publisher. During the final years of his life, Roger's Twitter account became so beloved that it stood for the totality of Roger.
When Roger died, everybody here at RogerEbert.com and its parent company, Ebert Digital, struggled with what to do with that account. Should we use it to represent the site that Roger worked tirelessly to create in the final months of his life? Should we use it for Tweets specifically related to Roger's career and family? Should we continue to Tweet in what we imagined to be the spirit of Roger, mixing film and pop culture links with bits on politics, philosophy, science and other topics he cared about?
We posed all of these questions, and always asked, "What would Roger do?"
But after a while we concluded that the question itself is a rabbit hole, and we'd all be wise to avoid it.
The only thing I think I know for sure that Roger would not have wanted us to do is to imitate his style, match the opinions we fantasize he would have held, and make our decisions based on what we think he would have done.
Unanimity bored him. Difference thrilled him. He loved giving writers and filmmakers a platform, and the confidence to be themselves.
So Roger's Twitter account will stay online, as an archive of the man and his work, and a place for Chaz to talk personally about Roger and his legacy.
The new Twitter account, @EbertVoices, will represent RogerEbert.com and the work of its contributors.
Roger was singular. We're plural. In Roger's spirit, we'll be ourselves.
Please join us on our journey.