Friday, July 3, 2009

I've Been Twitter Fucked and Liked It

In December a co-worker of mine introduced me to Twitter. At that point I had never heard of it and knew nothing about it. She encouraged me to try it out, so I signed up for an account, maybe a few posts, felt confused, and then pretty much abandoned my account until May. 

By May it seemed the world had found Twitter and everyone was on it. My friends quickly got accounts and Twitter because well, the new social networking obsession. I was originally turned off by Twitter because I didn't see much point. In many ways the site is a step backwards in social networking sites. But the more I've thought about this, the more interesting Twitter becomes. Are we moving back to a "less is more" mentality? There is Myspace with all of its options, backgrounds, music, photos, and everything else. There is Facebook with its endless, terribly written quizzes, videos, links, notes, etc. And then there is Twitter that is basically just the status text-box from Myspace and Facebook and yet it has pulled people in, worldwide (I was blown away by the idea of Iranians reporting what is happening with their elections through Twitter).  

This is what finally hooked me: Twitter is simple. It's compression. I have one photo, a tiny bio, and just my updates and this works for me. Social networking sites have exploded giving people endless options and giving the world too much information. Twitter allows you to be clever, witty and to focus on less is more. In a way I think of Twitter as a writing challenge. In most of my updates I attempt to use exactly 140 characters. I know most people don't care and I see terribly written tweets daily, but I'm always thinking of the best way to use that space. 

This, of course, connects to poetry. When someone asks me what is poetry? I say it is compressed language. It's taking a whole series of ideas, images, events and situations and compressing them into a smaller space. Twitter does just that. 

I've also found it to be a useful networking site for finding other poets and poetry magazines, which is always a positive. In the end I've spent more time on Twitter in the last month than any other social networking site and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Want to follow me? Please do:

-Stephen (Exactly 140)

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