Thursday, September 15, 2011

Teetering on Twitter

Over the past two weeks, with the launch of my updated website, I have been exploring Twitter. I am surprised at the ease of it (I have posted photos, made announcements, and comments) and likewise surprised to learn that people are using the social-media site to keep in touch in a manner similar to my typical use of e-mail.

I have long been a fan of flash fiction and am in awe of Hemingway’s famous six-word story, which he is said to have called his best work: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Do the six words constitute a title? A summary? Do they establish an opening line to a longer work? Perhaps, you can answer yes to all. That is because those six words, six simple words that when dusted off and put together offer so many unanswered implications that they create one of the all-time great open-ended stories.

This brings me back to Twitter and my preliminary perusal of it. I am intrigued by the challenge of saying something substantial in 40 words. (I have probably yet to do so.) And I have seen everything from actual insights, to spelling that would horrify any English teacher, to blatant mass-marketing schemes (of which I, too, am guilty). I have had great difficulty finding people (writers mostly) to follow. Are they using it? If so, how?

I am teetering on Twitter and up for any suggestions.


Donis Casey said...

have you seen any information on the British Authors Association's (I don't remember what the association is actually called, but it is a British authors' association) current twitter project for reviving the short story form? A famous author tweets the first line, and for 1 hour anyone who wishes can tweet a second line. A second line is chosen (by an author panel, I believe), then for another hour, a third line is solicited, up to six lines. I heard on the radio today that Ian Rankin contributed the first line for the first story. Now there's a use for Twitter.

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