Monday, April 09, 2012

Ave, Lorianne!

Lorianne is Twitterpated.

For me, the appeal of Twitter doesn’t lie in its rapidity or its reach, with celebrities gathering thousands of followers who hang on every Tweeted word. For me, the appeal of Twitter lies in its enforced brevity: the fact that like a poet you are required to count and consider every character. There is a lot of disposable chitchat on Twitter–that is, after all, what the site is designed to cultivate. But in the hands of a writer, Twitter’s space constraints are invaluable, forcing the long-winded and prosaic among us to jettison every scrap of dead wood.

I am not a poet; I deal exclusively with prose. The danger that nonfiction writers flirt with perpetually is the temptation to over-elaborate, providing an entire blueprint of a house when actually an impressionistic sketch will do. Prose states and poetry implies, and sometimes the declarative nature of prose makes it possible to over-emphasize a point, preaching on about something that could have been stated far more succinctly, and toward more effective ends.

I like the idea of transforming a transitory, superficial medium into something both crafted and contemplative. Well-wrought Tweets won’t slow Twitter a whit, but they speak toward the boldness of brevity and the purity of prose.

I've written similarly:

...microblogging presents a sexy challenge to those of a writerly mindset: the challenge of making one's thoughts as concise yet information-saturated as possible in the face of tight constraints...

And here:

I've tried to make my Twitter experience as entertaining as possible by attempting, alternately, to (1) see what sorts of poetry are possible; (2) see how much information I can cram into 140 characters; (3) see how much I can imply or evoke in 140 characters; (4) use the "reply" function to start bizarre, solipsistic dialogues with myself; (5) write parodic movie summaries; (6) see what happens when I write in different languages; and (7) slip in bits of wisdom learned from others. I'm obviously in the minority; most people on Twitter seem to think that "social networking" means "be a link whore; engage in mutual following." And that's it.

Many of my Twitter-related writings can be found by searching for "Twitter" in my blog's search window. See here.


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