Putting the "Wee" in Tweet
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I have been a reluctant Twitterer for a while now (though, for the record, I am trying to be better about it). I do check my Twitter feed each day and am amazed by how much (and as often, how little) people can say in 140 characters. Certainly, we live in a culture of sound bites, but Twitter takes this to a whole new level. Amidst the thousands and thousands of grammatical crime scene tweets, shoot-from-the-hip happenings tweets, re-tweets, twitpic tweets and glorified email forward tweets are some real creative gems. It is these gems that keep me tuned in to the incessant stream of information and make the sifting through worth it.
Take, for example, Twisters. Wholly-formed mini-stories, Twisters can be remarkably funny, touching and affecting. Veritable modern-day haikus.
Author Arjun Basu (@arjunbasu) writes several Twisters a day. A sampling:
I feel love in the air, he says, swatting bugs. It's the insecticide, she replies. That's when he knows the rest of the evening is hopeless. 6:02 PM Jun 20th from web
He tried the thing he saw in the movie but she just ended up in hospital with a sore hip and serious doubts as to their long term prospects. 9:04 AM Jun 19th from web
They went out hunting. They killed some large mammals. Later they saw the animals butchered. And one by one they ordered salads that evening. 11:07 PM Jun 16th from TwitterBerry
The air is fresh, the promise of something lovely in it, of magic. And then the wind shifts. And he is reminded he lives next to a pig farm. 10:51 AM Jun 9th from Seesmic Desktop
He knew the contest was dumb but he entered anyway. So he stared into the sun until he was totally blind. And still didn't win a free pizza. 2 minutes ago from web
While Micro-Fiction or Flash Fiction in and of themselves are not new, Twisters and Twitter poetry extend this style of writing into a new realm and, in turn, increase Twitter’s influence on the arts in general. This includes the culinary arts.
Maureen Evans, aka, @cookbook, is an Irish Twitterer who squeezes entire, at times complex, recipes into single tweets. Examples of how she boils them down:
Strawberry Mint & Pepper Jam: boil5c berries/.25t pep/T mint/5T lemonjuice; stir+mixed pkg pectin/c sugar to full boil. Fill~3jars; boil15m. 4:40 AM Jun 18th from web
Chocolate Mousse: beat 4eggwhites. Gently melt200g/7oz drkchoc; slowly+3T butter&hot h2o&espresso. Cool down; mix+4yolks. Fold all; chill2h. 7:17 AM Jun 9th from web
Galettes: savoury Breton crepes. Mix1.5c buckwheat flr/.5t salt/8T milk/egg. Beat+7T h2o/T beer. Cool. On buttery HOT pan tilt4T; brwn+flip. 2:13 PM Jun 8th from web
Darjeeling Soup: fry leek&onion/T butter. Simmer15m+2c cauliflr/1tater&celery/4c Darj tea/s+p/bay. Rmv bay; puree+6T milk. Srv w nutmeg&pep. 8:40 AM Apr 5th from web
Rhubarb Upside Down Cake: butter6ramekin;+T sug/4T fruit e. +beaten5T buttr&sug/egg/9T yogurt/c flour/t bkgpdr&zest/.5t salt. 25m@350F/176C. 1:20 PM Apr 1st from web
Increasingly, Twitter strikes me as a modern version of George Orwell’s Newspeak. Of course, instead of limiting the lexicon, Twitter limits the characters. Some view this limitation as a challenge to expand and redefine the possibilities of full expression. The result: beauty in concision that overcomes the limitations of the medium.
Photo credit to Selfridges