Twitter vs. blogs in an age of cheap language

Here’s a nicely nuanced and truly elegant little meditation on the meanings (note the plural) of Twitter in an age of universally blogified (in the bad sense) writing — with equal attention given to the latter phenomenon.

Few things could appear much worse, to the lurker, glimpser, or guesser, than this scrolling suicide note of Western civilization. Never more than 140 characters at a time? Looks like the human attention span crumbling like a Roman aqueduct. The endless favoriting and retweeting of other people’s tweets? Sounds like a digital circle jerk. Birds were born to make the repetitive, pleasant, meaningless sounds called twittering. Wasn’t the whole thing about us featherless bipeds that we could give connected intelligible sounds a cumulative sense?

…The Rise of the Tweet takes place amid an internet-induced cheapening of language, in both good and bad senses. The economic cheapness of digital publication democratizes expression and gives a necessary public to writers, and types of writing, that otherwise would be confined to the hard drive or the desk drawer. And yet the supreme ease of putting words online has opened up vast new space for carelessness, confusion, whateverism…[A]ll contemporary publications tend toward the condition of blogs, and soon, if not yet already, it will seem pretentious, elitist, and old-fashioned to write anything, anywhere, with patience and care.

…Enter —  ambiguously — Twitter [which has fostered] the very last thing to have been expected from the internet: a renovation of the epigram or aphorism, a revaluation of the literary virtues of terseness and impersonality…So Twitter doesn’t only have the widely recognized usefulness of providing updates on news and revolution, and illuminating links, and many laughs and smirks. It has also brought about a surprising revival of the epigrammatic impulse in a literary culture that otherwise values the merely personal and the super-colloquial as badges of authenticity.

FULL STORY: “Please RT, n+1, June 14, 2012 (from Issue #14)

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD, GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES, and HORROR LITERATURE THROUGH HISTORY.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Arts & Entertainment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Matt, my Daemon speaks to me in epigrams, you’re hurting his feelings. 🙂 Don’t mind me, I understand what you’re saying. Being a writer means I’m unconsciously in love with hermeneutics thus I think of myself as a Thoth or Hermes and it annoys me beyond measure how people are unaware of the meanings (and meaninglessness) of the words they themselves say or write. For some time now, due to this, I have exercised my mind to speak patiently and carefully to approximate what I do in writing.

    Even though my writing is experimental, I am aware of it. It is the unawareness that appalls me, as well as the annoyance at query and correction. Should I do it, I pummel myself mentally :-). To my mind, it appears people are lazy to learn in this day.

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