As an homage to the school of Flarf, I decided I’d write a Twitter poem. Ridiculous I know, but I just wanted to try something a little different.
Before I share the poem with you I’d like to tell you what a Twitter poem is or may be. But first, what is Twitter?
Twitter: The Who, What, When, Where, And Why
Twitter, by all accounts, is a social media application that allows multiple people to carry on an extended conversation and various cross-conversations simultaneously. It’s like the party version instant messenger. You can type a message of up to 140 characters (that is the limit, no exceptions) and anyone who is following you can read that message.
It’s really very simple. But there are some complexities that go beyond the mere communication aspect of Twitter. I won’t get into those. Suffice it to say that Twitter is a means of communicating with a mass of people at one time through ultra-short messages.
Before you can follow someone on Twitter, you have to have an account. You simply fill out the application, fill out your 140 character profile and start finding people to follow. But why?
There are likely as man reasons to follow someone as there are people on Twitter. It’s whatever you want to get out of it, but generally people follow people they have an interest in or that typically post messages that are of an interesting nature. I follow several poets and publishers, business people, other Internet marketers, and some famous people I admire. Some of them follow me back. I also have a following of close to 170 people, some of whom I follow back. At present, I have 163 followers and 139 people that I follow.
When you log in to Twitter you see a simple screen with a write box at the top. That’s where you type your messages. Below that, you can see the messages of the people that you follow in an aggregated rollup so that there is no common thread between them. Those followers may or may not be following each other, but it doesn’t matter. They all have one thing in common: You are following them. Here’s a screenshot of my write box and a few messages from the people I am following.
My Twitter Poem – The Method Of My Madness
The method of writing this poem was fairly simple. It wasn’t difficult and didn’t involve some elaborate scheme. There really wasn’t much “craft” involved in a traditional sense. I’m not even sure it’s any good. Just a little tinkering.
Each page of Twitter features 20 messages. So I went back two pages and copied the messages from the people I’m following – each 140 characters or less – and pasted them into Notepad. I started with one line per strophe and carried that out until I found a tweet that was naturally two lines long. I then made each strophe two lines in length even if that involved two tweets. I maintained that rhythm until two-line strophes only consisted of one tweet, then I added another tweet to make that strophe three lines. I did that until two tweets produced four lines and continued this pattern until the end of the poem and it played out. I made no revisions to the tweets themselves.
I had considered, initially, of taking out the @ replies and just using the tweets themselves (I did, by the way, delete all URLs included in tweets, with one exception). The @ replies are replies that I or another Twitterer made in response to someone else’s tweet. Chances are, you have no idea what the original tweet was because all you see if the @ reply. That means the person who made the original post has no relation to me whatsoever, but the person who replied is someone that I am following.
You will notice a connection to some of these lines. That’s because the same Twitterer is the author of those lines. But none of the tweets by the same Twitterer are back-to-back.
Does a Twitter poem necessarily have to be done this way? No, not really. It could be done any number of ways. This is simply the way I approached this one and decided to leave it at that. It’s only an experiment. I’m sure there will be readers whose response is “WTF”? Others will likely consider it genius. I’m OK with either response. I’m just doodling. Nothing serious. And I don’t mean that to be any pejorative slap at Flarfists. It’s just the way it is.
Social Media Poetry – A New Form?
Flarf has managed to gain some notoriety since its inception. I’m not sure why. The few Flarf poems that I’ve read are a bit senseless, much like what you’ll read below. But the way you should read this poem is not as one line of thought as you would much of contemporary poetry, or classic poetry for that matter. Rather, it should be read as multiple one-sided conversations going on at once, for that is precisely what it is. Imagine yourself at a party and hearing multiple conversations taking place throughout a crowded room, but you can only capture snippets of each conversation. That’s essentially what this is.
Could this be the advent of a new type of poetry? I don’t know. I’m sure someone will have an answer for that. But I do see where innovative poets could take this idea and run with it. Not just with Twitter, but with any social media tool. The idea of a social communication poem strikes me as more valuable than Google sculpting, a practice taken up by the Flarfists. One could classify this type of poem in the Flarf category. Google sculpting relies on one’s ability to search for key phrases and use snippets of conversation or content from websites, forums, blog posts, and other website content to create a poem. But the social communication poem has a different approach and focuses instead on a different aspect of human interaction. It involves taking snippets of written communication from the above-mentioned content publications and using those to craft a poem. How many ways can this be done? I think the possibilities are limitless.
But without further ado, I give you this, my first Twitter poem. Love it, hate it, throw verbal insults at me if you will. I don’t think it’s much, but it was interesting just to experiment.
Man pays electric bill with spider
wow pownce was aquired by six apart
Learned that in middle/HS culture getting your house TP’d is says “you are admired!”. Wouldn’t a Hallmark card been cheaper and less work?
i wonder why sixapart would aquire pownce and then close it down
How to tell the difference between a recession and a depression;
holy carp this is a good heroes. gripped for the whole thing. if you stopped watching the show (I’d understand why), start watching again.
Bet you they’re going to fold Pownce into Vox.
I think they plan to role the technology into their own micro-blogging platform
Looking for a picture on my computer. I have about 20000 ugh I am looking through
WOW!! I received ‘The Arte y Pico Award’, which is for writers, to inspire others with creativity by @debgallardo
So my Twuffer ‘future tweets’ actually went live 30 minutes early…..
@Kimberly_Bock Thanks for the warning. Didn’t realize that would jack with the stumbles. TY for the Stumble.
Accidentally put on the christopher cross SAILING – still an awesome song – so much testosterone! Hard core.
Ha and it uses the triangle. Even less popular than COWBELL
common consensus from y’all is that Six Apart bought pownce and killed it for talent/developers and the IP/technology.
plus…. Pownce was probably going cheap…. was anyone still using it?
Jonathan Coulton performs Code Monkey Unplugged
Creepy Doll – Jonathan Coulton
Someone opened Bartleby, The Scrivener by Herman Melville
Dont miss it! You can get the notification w/password (free) by registering at http://www.selfstartersweek…
@remarkablogger Wish I knew how to do that. I hate Vista SO much.
funny how much talk there is about Pownce on Twitter. There’s a little on Pownce but more here – guess that says something
4 Cool Resources You Need to Check Out –
The skies are not happy
@Allen_Taylor you’re welcome. going to comment after i write this post…
Shall we play a game?
Gotta run out and do an errand. Keep it up everyone.
I am better now listening to some yelling and atonality
just tried to log into pownce and got an error –
@problogger I’m with the consensus
you are not expendable.
this takes a lot for me to tweet, but with the holidays nearing, I wish I was more spiritual. I’ve got good morals, values, etc. but…
The State of the Micromediasphere. Wanna join in and be a guest on the show DM me!
Please keep praying for Zoe http://www.zoesheart.com/ @Nikki_s just told they found her a heart.
@amyderby I got this week off!
Flogging Molly – Death Valley Queen
Flogging Molly – Another Bag of Bricks
@Kimberly_Bock Nice heart.
Well, that’s it. Any suggestions for a title?