This is a mini-rant as is appropriate when talking about Twitter. Twitter like Facebook allows you to tell your contacts what you’re doing whenever you have the urge. Many are having that urge it would appear since other social media, such as LinkedIn and Plaxo, are offering exactly the same functionality. We will all clearly soon be drowning in this tsunami of status reports on the minutiae of our contacts’ lives.
This is why this morning I was moved to suggest to my Twitter contacts that using haiku might be the way to go.
Any tweet on Twitter cannot be longer than 140 characters. Unfortunately there is no automatic shutoff if the tweet has little value.
Writing a haiku with its discipline of five sounds/ seven sounds / five sounds would at least slow down the process and allow quality considerations to come into play. Sounds are the basis for the original Japanese haiku, but this is usually interpreted as syllables in the West. I then followed my plea with my own modest offering to illustrate the process:
Of course the nature of social media is to be sociable. It’s often almost shooting from the hip. With a little more research I could have put my suggestion into context. When I did the after-the-rant research, I find I am standing on the shoulders of giants, as Sir Isaac Newton once said.
Rebecca Blood in September 2000 in her weblogs: a history and perspective wrote as follows:
The blogger, by virtue of simply writing down whatever is on his mind, will be confronted with his own thoughts and opinions. Blogging every day, he will become a more confident writer. A community of 100 or 20 or 3 people may spring up around the public record of his thoughts. Being met with friendly voices, he may gain more confidence in his view of the world; he may begin to experiment with longer forms of writing, to play with haiku, or to begin a creative project–one that he would have dismissed as being inconsequential or doubted he could complete only a few months before.
A Twitter Haiku
Seven score keystrokes
Life summarized for my friends
There is even a special name for such twitter postings. Appropriately a twaiku is a haiku posted on Twitter. One of the most impressive collections is that of Maureen Evans where every entry since September 2006 is a haiku, or as she describes it a Senryu, which has the same 5-7-5 structure.
With all these eminent writers having promoted the haiku, it seems unlikely that the idea will get any more traction now. So we are each still left with the problem of how to cope with the ever-rising flood of tweats. Cope we must for it can only get worse.