Twitter As A Genre

609 words | 3 page(s)

Since Twitter began a few years ago, it has become a platform for artists, writers, journalists, and other related entertainers to effectively debut or share their work. Many refer to Twitter as a ‘genre’ because of this. From my little experience with Twitter, I believe it has a specific style that is heavily influenced by audience feedback, making it the ideal interface between writers and the larger world.

‘Twitter essays’ can include anything from Rob Ford’s racism to new age poetry readings. The tweets operate with other tweets to create a type of sequence; each tweet is open-ended, leaving it up to the following response to continue. While Twitter may seem like a limited platform, given its strict 140-character limit, a cluster of tweets pertaining to one topic can augment a conversation, known as a Twitter storm. In this way, the genre of Twitter allows writers to provide the frame of the work, an argument, or a thought, allowing others to have input that make it into a survey-like form.

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At the very root of the word essay, when referring to a Twitter essay, is an experimental thought or hypothesis: a provisional thought about anything. This does not make it into a definitive judgment, but a way of sampling the population to see what the reaction is to a writer’s work, argument, or beginning idea. This lays a bare landscape upon which people that have the same interests can bounce ideas back and forth and extrapolate upon given ideas.

The success of a writer’s work on Twitter depends heavily on the audience. How the audience receives a tweet, or a sequence of tweets, will determine which direction the author goes in their Twitter writing. The survey component of writing on Twitter allows authors to see how people react to what they are writing, which can effectively change the content that is posted to Twitter.

In a way, Twitter does it have its own ‘subgenre’ in addition to being a genre. Similar to the concept of sub-tweeting, in which one responds to another with a Twitter essay, subgenres are offshoots of the original phrase or idea that have been tweeted. This allows related events, ideas, etc to become incorporated into other Tweets, and maybe even become its own genre in time.

Although I use Twitter infrequently, I find it vastly interesting due to its way of keeping viewers updated on their specific interests. For example, some of my favorite news people, journalists, and authors often Tweet their latest work or ideas. In this way, it allows authors to effectively ‘work’ by gaining the input from their fans and other interested parties. In a way, writing is done so as to grab viewer’s attention because the writer can organize their thoughts into sequences, or successive Tweets. Often, these collect on other forums, such as Tumblr, so that viewers can read the entire idea or essay. It’s like a stand up comedy skit in a way, because its delivery can either go really well, or really bad.

Compared to another genre that I use more frequently, I think Snapchat is quite different from Twitter. Snapchat is more for media like pictures, whereas Twitter is more for literary work. I like using Snapchat because it keeps me up to date with my friends. Twitter is a way to follow celebrities or other famous figures, such as authors.

In summary, Twitter is an ideal interface between viewers and writers, or other influential figures, to effectively reach out to a larger audience. Though not traditional writing, it helps to combine a set of corresponding ideas, making it into a genre.

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