On Chinese clocks, Roman numerals, and Twitter engagement

This is the end of a journey I started on Twitter last year: “Would you please share a picture of a clock in a public place on Chinese soil that has Roman numerals?” It has 2,958 impressions and 14 engagements, still counting. Nobody responded to my request, though.

I tried again in June. Only 211 impressions and 4 engagements: “Would you please share a picture of a clock in a public place on Chinese soil that has Roman numerals? And I am not afraid of CCP. …

Next, in October, I Twittered, “Do you have a picture of a clock in a public place in mainland China that has Roman numerals? Please show me,” and paid $5 to promote it. That was a fun experiment. As I write, it continues to draw attention: 34,802 impressions and 1,892 engagements, etc.

Twitter stats 1 of 2 Twitter stats 2 of 2

But still no help.

Last month, Mega Wolf @WolfEyeRight asked, “So. You still haven’t got that result?

I replied, “Kinda spooky. I’ll chalk it up to serendipity. I got motivated this afternoon. As you Twittered this, I was searching and found several results on my own.…

It turns out, results are easy to find. I think I still have those search results open on my notebook. I’m writing on my desktop though, too lazy to check. I simply searched Flickr today for china clocktower, beijing clocktower, and tianjin clocktower. I’m only going to share one: Here’s a crop of what I was looking for, from a typical picture of the China Railway Museum’s clocktower in downtown Beijing by kitmasterbloke. clock face with Roman numerals

Wolf saw my ad and Retweeted because they thought it was “weird” that I would pay to promote my request. And they wondered “why someone wants to find out something so specific.” Well, Wolf, this may be disappointing, but here’s why. Last year it struck me that China has a long history all its own, and the Chinese have invented many devices ahead of or in parallel with the West. I wondered what place, if any, Western clocktowers, Roman numerals and all, hold in Chinese architecture. After I got that in my head, I attached it to Twitter and wondered if any Tweeps would see my request. When I got no reply, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could pay a modest sum to motivate a response. Not the response I was looking for, but I’m glad you asked, anyway.

It’s been fun. Moving on…

Clocktower of China Railway Museum, downtown Beijing” by kitmasterbloke is licensed under CC BY 2.0