Currently I am taking a Creative Non-Fiction class with Mark Doty, who tries to approach writing assignments in unconventional ways. Our latest assignment involves taking a form that is not usually considered “literary,” such as a list, instruction manual, or something even more unusual, such as a bathroom scale or a pain scale in a hospital, and write a non-fiction piece into that form. For example, Eula Bess’s piece entitled “The Pain Scale” which can be read here: http://harpers.org/archive/2005/06/0080588
In class today, I was joking around to a friend that she should write her piece in the form of Tweets or as a Twitter feed. While conversing about this, our classmates said that writing something “literary” into a social media form would be a really good creative experiment for our assignment. One of the original questions posed to our class this semester of how we can use technology to creatively express ourselves, and I definitely think that trying to mold creative writing pieces into the “forms” of digital media and social networking is a new way to think about writing and creates another way for us to use social media.
In terms of how I could go about writing my next assignment in Twitter form, I think that Tweets could serve as a great way to have a quick dialogue between two people about current trends. If I was inspired to write a piece about two people who had just gone through a break-up but were trying to talk minimally, having a conversation through Twitter would be a great way to tell their story, especially since Twitter really limits conversation to 140 characters per exchange–probably a good length to keep messages after a rough break-up. I could also tell the story of a major world event with Tweets from different people from various countries around the world. The “narrator” of the story could be one Twitter username Tweeting back at all the various people and their reactions.
With new outlets for social media and digital technology, the possibilities for me as a writer searching for both new methods and new material open up exponentially, and the arena to which I can expose my work is also greater than it was before the Internet was regularly used by my peers.