Twitter + Literature = Twitterature
Twitter is a social networking web application in which members post brief notes to each other in a manner similar to Facebook “status updates”. Each post is limited to a maximum of 140 characters, including spaces, punctuation, and “hash tags” (more on these later).
IMHO (“In My Humble Opinion” – get used to cute acronyms if u r tweeting on Twitter) the vast majority of Twitter posts or “tweets” are not really worth reading by any public broader than the tweeter’s personal peer network. It is hard for me to imagine that a worldwide audience for the inane pronouncements of self-absorbed net-kids exists. For example (…you KNOW that you wanted one!), a trending topic today is something called “sweetest day” and this is a typical post, “HAPPY SWEETEST DAY PPL!!!!!!!!!!” from a young woman who calls herself “reese_21“. There are thousands of tweets today with some variation of this message. So, what makes Twitter interesting to the Fluxus Blog? Two things:
- Each tweet is limited to a maximum of 140 characters. One of the characteristics of most Fluxus work is its brevity. The creative potential that is built into Twitter with its enforced brevity is an open invitation to Fluxification. Event scores, instructions, collaged haiku, haiku-based poems, very brief fluxpoems; all lend themselves beautifully to the technically imposed limits of Twitter.
- The “hash tags” to which I alluded earlier. A hash tag is simply a word (no spaces please; the word, “word” being loosely applied here) preceded by a hash mark, term used to describe what is also known as the “number sign” or the “pound key” on a computer or cell phone keyboard. Hash tags are searchable symbols that can be used to link individual tweets together. They are the magic symbols that permit online communities of twitterers to organically grow. For example visiting Twitter.com and searching for #haiku will display the posts of everybody that tagged their work with “#haiku”. Twitterati sometimes use more esoteric tags like, #twaiku or #micropoetry to filter out the noise of a too-busy tag. The hash tags are also what permitted Iranian democracy activists to disseminate information to each other and to the world, using the tag, #iranelections.
There are a few members of the contemporary Fluxus community currently using Twitter. I use it primarily to post traditional haiku, but also post fairly frequent Fluxus-oriented micropoems. Perhaps a critical mass of Fluxpeople will begin tagging their work #fluxus one day soon?