Wednesday, April 14, 2010

100th Post...Something Magical

I've been thinking about this post for a few days now.  Ever since I realized that it would be number 100.  For some bloggers it may only take a few months to reach that many.  For me, it's astonishing that I reached it at all (expecially in light of the fact that I only posted twice in all of 2008)!

Tomorrow is also the 4th anniversary of More Yarn For Me.  I never would have guessed that I would end up writing to three different blogs when I first started this one.  My, how times are changing.

I believe very strongly in self expression.  Not just in writing, but all formats; music, art, the written and spoken word, dance, what-have-you.  So, when I started this blog it was for multiple purposes.  First, to be what blogs were initially intended to be; an on line journal.  Secondly, to force myself to write more because I know that practice, while not making perfect, at least makes for more comfort.  Thirdly, as a means of meeting similar-minded individuals.

The two biggest changes in my life that I could never have forseen  when I started this were being laid off from my job, and the advent of Twitter.

The company I worked for was extremely generous in terms of communication with the workforce as it related to the closing of the fascility.  We were given the news about two and a half years before it closed.  So, we all had plenty of time to wrap our minds around the fact that we were going to be unemployed.  We could go through the shock and the grieving process before we had to face the hard realities of unemployment and searching for new jobs.  In that time I got to play "What If" games with myself, co-workers, family, and friends.  It was from one of those such games that I realized what I wanted to do (turn my yarn dying hobby into a full time business).  And, so I started Dyed Bright Here (my second blog and store).

As big a change as working to start your own business can be, my love for and involvement with Twitter has been even more life changing.

I use Twitter to promote my fledgling business.  I use Twitter to network.  I use Twitter to socialize.  I use Twitter to make new friends.  These are all common uses.  But, the one thing I use Twitter for that I value above all others is the ability to create with Twitter.  Create?  Yes, create.  Sometimes by myself, and sometimes in conjunction with others.

Whenever I talk about my love of all things Twitter, I have to first mention the book, "All a Twitter" written by Tee Morris (@TeeMonster on Twitter).  I bought this book before I even logged on to Twitter for the first time and the decission to get the book first was one of the best decissions I have ever made!  When I finally did log on that very first time I already knew the lay of the land and was able to take off running. (Note: An earlier post with a shameless plug for all things Tee is here. Books, Podcasts, the whole magilla)

When a person or entity sends out a message on Twitter it is called a tweet.  It may be a company sending out a link to get you to view or buy their product.  It may be something as ho-hum-ordinary as what someone is about to eat for lunch.  Or, it may be a poem.  Or, a piece of a longer piece of writing.  Regardless of the particulars of the tweet, it is a short form of communication sent out into the world.  Part of the beauty of a tweet is that it is limited to 140 characters.  And, while there are services like twit-longer that allow you to post longer tweets by linking off site, it is still generally frowned upon.  Sometimes, it will take more than one tweet to get your point accross, but that is also generally frowned upon.  The 140 character limit is classically beautiful.  It teaches self-editing, brevity, and restraint.  Not to mention creative spelling and abreviation.

When I first logged on to Twitter, one of the very first people I started following was @TeeMonster for the simple reason that his user name was one of the few I knew at the time and I had found his book so helpful. (I still refer to it every once in a while).  Through some of Tee's tweets, I found other people whose tweets were interesting to me, those people led me to others, and down the line. Quite a few of the people who mean the most to me now can in fact be traced back to a small handful of people and back to Tee.  Sort of like playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon".

But when a number of tweets are purposefully strung together as parts of a whole it becomes a unique art form.  Twitfic (Twitter fiction) is the name for this.  Because you can't enter your tweets ahead of time and simply sit on them until you decide to publish them, there is a real-time factor in the delivery of a multi-tweet piece of literature. As the reader you can either experience them in real time where there is a certain quality of anticipation in the waiting time between them.  Or, you can read them all at one time after the person is done "putting them up".

With poetry and twitter, the shorter forms, such as haiku and senryu, are perfect for the 140 character limit.  Either one person will tweet one of these little poems, or occassionally, a whole series of these poems.  When multiple writers who follow each other spontaneously start tweeting these poems, Twitter becomes a sort of performance theatre.  The individuals feed off the ideas, words, and even energy of each other and as a group create that which would never have been individually.

I have been a part of this type of collaberative creativity a number of times.  And, while I have been an artist my entire life, I had never experienced this type of instantaneous group creativity before.  I have sat down at a piano with no particular music in mind and just started playing, a sort of solo jam session.  This, however, is the poetic equivalent to a full jam session with the piano, drums, perhaps a base line, and a saxaphone.  And, the players are all over the world.

That, my friends, is the magic of Twitter.

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