Friday, March 26, 2010

140 words good, 140 characters better?

It's now self-evident: my Twitterstream is cannibalising my blog. I know several other people in the same situation, though a few, the most creative and prolific, are keeping a balance.

I like writing short, and I think there's something both satisfying and addictive about the discipline of saying something in 140 characters, while still making sense and not compromising with naff abbreviations. I do like a well-composed tweet, even as I hate the fact that it's called a tweet. But it's more than that, it's quicker - you can easily do it by text or email if you're not online -  and (unlike blogging), it's not all about you. Most Thursdays, I watch BBC Question Time on the TV while following (and sometimes contributing to) the simultaneous fury being vented on #bbcqt. It's social, and I am a social animal.

But I miss creating joella. My tweets are backed up, and paint their own picture of the last year or so, but it's not the same as the narrative arc of a blog... actually more like a narrative sine wave: trawling the archives I can see the cycles of the year and the month, the ebbing and flowing, the posts I find I have written several times over, using different words in different years, not remembering that I've said it before. Some things change, some stay the same. Memories are fallible, and it's more valuable than I thought it would be to have a record. I find I consistently underestimate my younger self. Maybe we all do.

So I need to sort it out a bit.

I don't think I will get round to retro-blogging. But in case I have a burst of enthusiasm, here are a few things I wanted to expand on rather than condense, yet somehow didn't. This was the underdocumented early spring of 2010
  • BBC4's Women series 
  • My semi-related re-reading of The Handmaid's Tale
  • The illlusion of freedom which is car ownership
  • The removal of the wallpaper in the hall, and the realisation that there are many ways to fill a crack
  • The sadness I feel for the grass in the Business Park
  • Choice does not equal empowerment
  • Party fears
  • My burgeoning love affair with Dr Haushcka
There. That's a start.




Blogger Spine said...

do we get votes? i would want you to revisit the grass and the cars. or alternatively, whichever is the most ranty.

4:59 pm  
Anonymous Helen said...

And I would surmise that the affair with Dr Hauschka (sic!) won't last. Well, mine didn't. There is something wrong about indulgent skin care married with German science :) No, my vote's for the BBC4 Women Series. Why all so dark/depressing? My other vote (we don't get two?) is for the choice/empowerment equation. John Lewis knows we don't want choice, wise them.

10:57 pm  
Blogger Miles said...

Ooh! Helen sic'ed Jo! Editor-fight!! Go on, the two of you, should I have put that apostrophe in there or not?

I vote for the car, even though I already know the story. It needs to be told and I still don't have a blog. Oh, and choice does not equal empowerment, though again that is a post I would have a go at writing if I wrote blog posts.

As for John Lewis. (verbless sentence acknowledged) I don't want "Rise to the occasion with all butter puff pastry". I want all butter puff pastry. Keep your vapid marketing gobshite blurt off my basic products.

Thank you.

8:09 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Just the other day I said 'Dr Hauschka Quince Body Moisturizer. Because I'm worth it', and my friend Hannah replied 'Because you can spell it'. Which is a much better slogan. Except clearly I can only spell it sometimes. The shame.

(Miles, I'd have put a hyphen in there instead of an apostrophe, but I don't think there's a rule).

I am delighted to have votes. Cars, depressing women, downtrodden grass and "empowerment". It's like the a dysfunctional 21st century version of Billy Bragg's peace, bread, work and freedom.

I'll see what I can do.

10:05 pm  
Anonymous Helen said...

On my first day studying German, the teacher wrote a word on the board. If we copied it down correctly, he said, we would get an A at O level (in the days when this wasn't a foregone conclusion). The word was: Der Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän, or letters to that effect. I missed out the first and the second cs. I have always been overly sensitive to she 'sch' formation since.

10:34 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

I'd go for "sicced" myself, clearly a situation where an extra consonant avoids all kinds of upset and despondence. And I'm a senior editor, so there.

But please do keep the blog coming. I'm all for short, concise arguments but putting a character cap on them is a bad idea. Ive always been a spirit-of-the-law guy rather than letter-of-the-law, even (or perhaps especially) when editing.

9:10 am  
Blogger Spine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:58 pm  
Anonymous jonathan said...

I'm not surprised you are enjoying the challenge of Twitter given the admirable economy of your writing (my comments are sometimes nearly as long as your posts, as you have no doubt noticed) but I would vote for 140 of your words over 140 of your letters anyday, even if I was in any way acquainted with the brave new world you describe, which I'm not.

As for the other vote well almost every one of them sounds positively mouthwatering but if I have to choose one then it is The Sadness You Feel For The Grass In The Business Park.

11:28 pm  

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