A short rant

22 May

One thing giving me the shits is this whole ‘oh, look at twitter, isn’t that amazing? All these people writing things in 140 characters or less.’

Brevity is nothing new, peeps. Haiku, anyone?

And shock. Brevity nurtures wit. Really? Oscar Wilde, anyone? Dorothy whatshername?

Look, I wouldn’t be so fussed, but some dude has just signed a five figure deal to publish a book of people’s tweets (I’m not linking to him or any of the articles about him because he doesn’t need me to and because then he’ll think I’m just trying to get his attention so he’ll put me in his next book) and that has tipped me over the edge. Don’t get me wrong. Twitter is fun and all, it’s just that brevity is not a literary revolution.

I dunno, maybe I should be happy that there is a revised and revived interest in poetry…I just wish they’d stop pretending it was all amazing and new.

On a not-unrelated note, this twitter-facebook status crossover is not entirely successful, because twitter asks, ‘what are you doing’ while facebook asks ‘what’s on your mind’?*

It makes for imprecision and imprecision is what poetry is not.

To my mind, the day that Facebook caved to populism and shed the old ‘ThirdCat is…’ civilisation lost a lot.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got a sense of perspective to find.

*UPDATED TO ADD: I didn’t really explain myself properly there, it’s only a problem when you’re getting twitter updates automatically sent to update fb statuses, because then you’re answering different questions with the same answer. Anyway, look, a friend has just emailed to tell me I’m losing the plot and has suggested that I (and here I paraphrase) forget about it.


8 Responses to “A short rant”

  1. Deborah May 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    this twitter-facebook status crossover is not entirely successful, because twitter asks, ‘what are you doing’ while facebook asks ‘what’s on your mind’?

    “What’s on your mind?” “A Wolf!” Pig cried.

    [With shame faced apologies for the self-link]

    I also quoted Dorothy whatsername the other day. She was succinctly devastating.

    • ThirdCat May 22, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

      Don’t be shamefaced!
      I loved that post, and it led directly to us reading Dirty Beasts that evening and several times since.

  2. lynseymay May 22, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    I absolutely agree – Twitter is what it is, a way to communicate. It adds nothing to the literary landscape save occasional advertising opps, laughs and a whole lot of white noise.

    The publishers of the book you mentioned should be ashamed – make the most of the format you’ve got. While the ‘author’ should be red faced for hoping to create some kind of monster out of other people’s creativity.


  3. planetnomad May 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    I really don’t like Twitter. I admit I’ve never tried it, but I already feel that I don’t need to know if my friends are doing laundry, working out, or other daily minutiae. (Unless they can write about it really well)

    Having said that, check this out: http://madhattermommy.blogspot.com/2009/05/pride-and-twitterverse.html It really amused me.

  4. Stomper Girl May 23, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    I liked the challenge of the facebook “is”. I just pretend it is still there mostly.

    Have also decided Twitter is first person, Facebook is third. If that helps.

  5. The Coffee Lady May 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    I don’t really have time for 140 characters, if I’m honest

  6. shula May 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    I can’t do things in under 140 characters. Well, I can, but it makes me sad.

    And twitter doesn’t have scrabble.

  7. Kate June 9, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    I am glad that they lost the ‘is’. But it did mean you had to be clever about it. I need all the mental exercise I can sneak into my day.

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