Writing a blog can be a bit of an invitation for self-doubt. I often find myself wondering: How much posting is too much? Too little? Will people think this is funny? Does anybody but me actually care about burrata cheese and D-List reality tv shows?
One question in particular has been weighing on my mind since I began blogging:
To tweet? Or not to tweet?
I’ve noticed that a lot of other bloggers use twitter to advertise their blogs and get the word out, and this seems to be a pretty effective strategy. But I just can’t seem to get out of my own way on this one.
I’ve always been scared of twitter. I don’t know what it is exactly- maybe its all those threatening looking hashtags with so many sharp angles… or the constant feeling of alienation I get from in-jokes formed through @ signs… that’s not to say I haven’t tried to embrace it. In a momentary burst of bravery back in 2009, I signed up for a Twitter account. But I guess I got performance anxiety, because to this day I have not tweeted a single tweet. My account sat untouched for almost two years- until a few months ago when I discovered you could follow celebrities. Side note: how had I not heard of this before?? I can’t believe I went so long without knowing that Danielle from the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s favourite Jamba Juice is Acai with multi-vitamin boost (I should have guessed though, given her propensity to always “keep it real”).
Anyway. One of the things I worry about with Twitter is overexposure- that people will grow tired of hearing what I have to say if they are inundated with too many blasts. I never want to be lumped into the same category as that annoying facebook girl who updates her status everytime she goes to the bathroom. Plus, I’ll be honest- I’ve wondered what is really worth saying in only 140 characters?
But then I stumbled upon One Forty Fiction.com, a website that encourages writers to send in their stories that are 140 characters in length or less for publication on the site.
The website gave the following description:
“The name “one forty fiction” refers to the 140-character limit imposed on users by the online service Twitter. It is the 21st century haiku. Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that consists of 3 metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables; a complete piece, rendered small. But poetry.”
I can’t tell if this is extremely profound, or extremely offensive to the Japanese, but in any event- some of these stories are pretty cool. If you can believe it, they all have a beginning, middle and an end- and pack a major punch in just a small number of words.
This forced me to look at twitter in a different light. I had always thought of it as a form of self promotion; another byproduct of our confessional culture – but now here it is being suggested that tweeting is art form in and of itself. Hmmm. If that really is the case, then I guess that goes a hell of a long way towards legitimizing the $10,000 Kim Kardashian is paid per tweet…. and I guess it also makes Ashton Kutcher’s publicist guilty of extreme poetic censorship. (not to mention a buzzkill. jeeze).
I’m not really surprised by all of this. In our day and age there’s an increased pressure to be relevant, funny, and charming in a shrinking amount of space and time. 140 characters in a tweet. A sentence in a Facebook status. A 30 second audition for x-factor. 800 words in a blog post. 20 minutes in an interview. 15 minutes of fame. I guess it’s a kind of social media Darwinism- learn to be pithy, and to reduce yourself to tiny morsels that can be digested in a nanosecond; or step aside, Larry Longwinded, and be replaced by the 14-year-old speed texting champion from Illinois who has mastered the art of virtual shorthand.
In the end, maybe I’m no farther ahead on the age-old question of whether I’m going to grab the twitter bird by the wings and start tweeting.. ..but in the meantime, I’ll just keep reading People.com gossip bites and Kanye West’s delusions of grandeur, and take comfort in the fact that at least I’ve thought about it for more than a nanosecond.