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Twitter Is the New Haiku - Emma Green - The Atlantic

Stashed in: Communication, @dickc, Poetry!, Vine, Twitter

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I love that Emma Green took 500 words to make this point:

Just like a sonnet tells a story differently than a limerick, do social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Vine deserve their own category of communication?

Costolo explained it like this:

Sometimes I get asked, 'Don't you feel that the 140 characters has meant that people don't think about things deeply anymore?' The reality is that you don't look at haiku and say, 'You know, aren't you worried that this format is going to prevent people from thinking deeply when you can only use this many words and it has to be set this way?' I think that people develop language for creatively communicating within whichever constraints you set for people.

He also talked about Vine, the platform that allows users to create and share strings of six-second videos, as a new medium for video art.

The beauty of Vine, we thought, is that like Twitter, the six seconds would create this entirely new artistic language. That super tight constraint would mean people would have to be creative in all sorts of new ways that they hadn't had to be creative before when they thought about free-form video.

This grand narrative, that Twitter and Vine are creating a new form of language, fits neatly with the company's interests, of course. But there might be something to the comparison between short social-media blasts and art forms like poetry.

As these kinds of social-media platforms have become more and more ubiquitous, micro-form content like tweets, Facebook status updates, or video clips has become a distinctive set of ways to craft pithy or powerful observations. 

A haiku of 500 words wouldn't be better than one of 17. Indeed, 500 words don't make a haiku at all. The power of communicating in fewer words is that those words mean more, and in their best forms, those words can inspire thousands more in discussion and speculation.

Twitter is a great experiment but it's a closed system completely owned by one company.

Imagine if radio or television -- or the Internet! -- were owned by just one company.

No matter how big it gets, it could have been bigger if multiple companies could own parts of it.

In a sense, aren't those/we who tweet the owners?  

Not really. Twitter owns the copyright and they're free to do with tweets as they please.

But if they want to be awesome, they'll strive for mutual benefit.  Which I think they do.

They're trying, but it's tough.

Especially when: (1) Twitter has to own everything, and (2) Twitter needs to display lots of ads.

(1) and (2) are inherently self-limiting, though as Google has shown, (2) can be done thoughtfully.

Twitter is haiku.

Seven-five-seven is old.

One forty is new.

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