This project concerning Twitter being used to actually publish fiction started
out based around the rudimentary question of “how does a young writer get his work out there?” “There,” is a bit of a loaded term. What does “there” even mean? Does it mean getting written work selected by some sort of publication, an online journal, or just posted on a blog? These questions were not being sorted out well enough for me to make a clear answer.
Ultimately, the topics covered in this class aided me in being a suitable writer
for this project, with Clay Shirky and Marshal McLuhan being the guiding lights It wasn’t until the class read deeper into Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody that I realized how subjective my first question actually was. As he states on pg. 87, “Now that our communications technology, the distinction between those patterns of communication are evaporation; what was once a sharp break … is becoming a smooth transition.” This led me to varying platforms that follow the “publish then filter” model proposed in that same chapter, which in turn, led me to think about on particular platform that many within the literary/publishing community despise: Twitter.
Shirky very much helped in connecting the idea of the lines between what’s
published and what’s private slowly evaporating with Marsha McLuhan’s quote “the medium is the message.” Twitter may be the most immediate way to communicate a thought while on the Internet. One is given only 140 characters to say anything, thus, the message one is trying to communicate becomes inevitably entwined with the Twitter format.
The same happens with publishing fiction on Twitter. In posting, the writer
will have to construct the story within the parameters of the Twitter format. This means the writer is not afforded the luxury of detail. The message has to come through. That is exactly what the medium of Twitter does with fiction; it parses the story down to its message. Twitter makes the message.
As it has been said Twitter is extremely immediate. Therefore, I wanted to
create a site that young writers could find to see varying Twitter Fiction in a concise way. The argument and presentation of research is concise with hyper linking to my sources for further reading. Furthermore, I wanted the rhetoric of the site to very much follow an Ontological viewpoint because without engaging in the discourse, I do not believe I would have been a proponent for Twitter Fiction. As Brummett states in “Three Meanings of Epistemic Rhetoric,” ontological rhetoric provides that “discourse creates realities rather than truth about realities.” Through using this viewpoint I was able to engage in a whole new mode of publishing that finds its seeds far before the age of the Internet.
The ultimate problem in creating this project was whether or not a website
hosting a singular twitter account re-‐tweeting twitter fiction with an argument for the platform would be useful at all. Young writers (and just young people on the whole) are generally tech savvy enough to begin with, without any help. I tried to remedy this in the most effective way by providing the Issuu cataloguing the various Twitter Fictions from the account.
Furthermore, I started research for this project with a bias against the
publishing industry, and didn’t consider publications that actually specialize in publishing Twitter fictions. Researching fiction sites such as Nanoism helped show the error in my researching this project strictly in terms of self-‐publishing; thus, making the ontological viewpoint even more important in my overall rhetoric. Research focused more on E-‐readers such as from the Wall Street Journals had its place in showing the evolution in research, but was in the end not entirely useful in my argument for Twitter Fiction as a viable mode of storytelling.
In terms of collaboration, my peers’ comments were helpful to the extent that
it made me realize how much of a niche subject this was. Many people do not know the inner-‐workings of the literary world (as they have every right not to) and thus don’t know if this topic is even important. This prompted me to see just how far this mode of story telling is steeped in history, leading me to apply Hemmingway’s Ice Berg theory and the serialization of Dickens’ novels.
I believe my plan for this project worked well in terms of functionality. One of
the main luxuries I didn’t have in this particular course was the luxury of a full semester to help engrain the ideas of the course more thoroughly with my project. Time was not with me. Were I to have another chance at creating this project, I would have tried to do more of it actually through Twitter; making arguments, perhaps creating my own Twitter Fiction handle and so forth.