I’ve always found that constraints lead to creativity, and Twitter is no exception. With only 140 characters to play with, I frequently have to do some creative editing and thinking to say what I want to say. And as a habitual writer of far-too-long long emails, I enjoy tweeting because it challenges me to be crisp and nimble with language.
I also enjoy seeing some of the creative things people do with the format. Here are a few.
1. @Sockington: Sockington, identified in his Twitter bio simply as “Jason Scott’s cat” from Waltham, MA, has a one-of-a-kind voice–and close to a million and half followers. Sample tweets: “SURPRISE NOT A GREY PILLOW it was me SO EASY TO FOOL YOU ARE this is totally why I run things around here” or “awaiting petting THERE WE GO hmmm have had better NO THAT DOESN’T MEAN STOP”
2. @VeryShortStory: So there are short stories, and there are tweet-length stories. For example, “I traced my finger along the map imprinted on your back. Soon I’d seduce your sister. With her map half, your father’s riches would be ours.” Not quite as short as Hemingway’s famous six-word story, but impressive all the same.
3. @JQAdams_MHS: The Massachusetts Historical Society regularly tweets excerpts from John Quincy Adams’s diary. Now truthfully, this is not a book I would be inclined to have on my bedside table, but reading a tidbit every day is fascinating. For example, “02/15/1812: Detecting domestic thefts and impositions. Dined at Raimbert’s. Took Charles with me. Montreal gave him a Magic Lantern.”
4. @520_bridge: This is a landmark in my city, Seattle, and somebody has taken to tweeting as the bridge. And, amazingly, people have taken to tweeting to the bridge. For example: “@520_bridge What’s your deal today?! Crossing you for 15 minutes!” To which the bridge responds, “Sun for first time in 5 days = peeps forgot sunglasses!” (For those who don’t live in Seattle, this is actually a completely plausible explanation.)
5. @cookbook: Maureen Evans, from London, tweets entire recipes: (Raisin Cookies: Mix c flr/½c brsug&raisin/t bkgpdr/½t salt&cinn/¼t nutmeg. Beat+egg/⅓c buttr/¼c milk/t vanil. Spoon16t 2″apart; 10-12m@375F.) It’s nothing short of virtuosic. She has even landed a cookbook deal, for eat tweet, a Twitter cookbook.
There are a lot of creative possibilities here, whether you are a content creator game for a unique challenge, an author working to develop voice for a character, or the keeper of some unique intellectual property that might be parceled out over time, tweet by tweet.
What are your favorite creative uses of Twitter?