I Don’t Like Twitter Fiction

I can see how Twitter can offer some affordances for collaborative story making. I actually think that hashtags could be used to organize stories in a way that allows readers access to new parts of the stories. However, this affordance comes with constraints. The organization of the hashtag would be limited to placing the story into one area. The tweets that comprise the story would still be jumbled based on the chronological order they are placed in. You could have one person tweet out all of the tweets to organize them like in Hafiz, you could reply to other parts to make a chain, or you could have multiple hashtags for each part of the story if it is meant to have branches. But in all of these, there is a lot of room for error and there are clearly better platforms for this type of collaboration, like Reddit and 4chan. Both of these can feed you a seamless stream of comments that can cumulate in a collaborative story.

As for simple individual story telling, Twitter offers very little in the way of affordances. The 140 character limit, in my opinion, in no way helps the effectiveness of sentences. They simply have to be condensed. As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s work, I do not put much stock into the trait of being short and sweet. This sentence from The Colour Out of Space is 282 characters long:

“They were twitching morbidly and spasmodically, clawing in convulsive and epileptic madness at the moonlit clouds; scratching impotently in the noxious air as if jerked by some alien and bodiless line of linkage with subterrene horrors writhing and struggling below the black roots.”

I am sorry if this is ignorant, but a limit that would exclude Lovecraftian language is not something that I find appealing. While it may be simple and easy enough to make sentences that conform to the limit, I cannot get past the fact that there is a limit. Also, I find the jump from tweet to tweet jarring. Even if it is just scrolling down to the next tweet, for some reason the tweet format seems more independent than other types of post formats. Smooth transition is another reason why I would prefer 4chan or Reddit for the job of creating a collaborative work of fiction. Overall, I find myself unimpressed by Twitter fiction. I will definitely be creating a locative narrative for my next story.

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