To begin with, while I’ve been a long time fan of both blogging and facebook, I swore up and down that Twitter was: stupid, pointless, exactly like facebook, and something that I would NEVER use.
Two things made me change my mind:
- When my Uncle Ray joined Facebook, his daughter left a note on his page that read “dad, you’re so late in the game on facebook – everyone’s on twitter now. jeeze!”
- I’m currently listening to the audiobook version of Franzen’s Freedom. There is a scene in which a college-age daughter is arguing with her father’s assistant. The assistant insists that she’s a young person and understands young people just as well, she’s 27 (my age) for god’s sake! But the daughter insists that there is a whole world of difference in her understanding of technology and the assistant’s, that the assistant didn’t grow up with cell phones and doesn’t understand that young people barely even email anymore.
So I got one.
And now, I’m a little bit obsessed with the posting format. Twitter famously only allows 140 characters in every post (which includes spaces). I knew this. What I didn’t know was that there is a countdown in the lower right-hand corner of the posting box. The numbers race down and often I’m at 60, and then 40, and then -3 characters before I even get halfway out of the gate. So then I go back and try and find places where I can condense, lose the unnecessary words. I don’t like abbreviations or internet speak (WTF, TOFL, FTW), so instead I’m playing with punctuation and word choice.
Twitter provides the perfect format for editing a sentence down to the essentials. I’m tempted to type every sentence from my novel into the twitter post box just to watch the countdown and then remove the fat. It’s like a minimalist’s dream tool. The only problem, is that a novel needs sentences longer, sometimes much longer, than 140 characters.