Home > e-phemera > Tweeting Stories

Social media isn’t exactly new, but it’s still something that writers have only recently begun experimenting with. Facebook and Twitter are so much a part of our lives that it makes sense that they are being used as both medium and  material for writing.

Status Update by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang is such an example – a poetry collection that uses Facebook statuses as inspiration for each poem. PRISM contributor Claire Matthews recently reviewed Status Update, which you can read here.

More and more writing is taking place on these social networks, however, and Twitter seems to be the platform of choice. Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan wrote a story on Twitter in 2012, tweeted from the New Yorker’s fiction account, @NYerFiction, over ten nights.

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You can read “Black Box” in its entirety on The New York Times website.

And just last month,  David Mitchell wrote a short story on Twitter called “The Right Sort”, which you can read on The Guardian’s website.

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There’s even a #TwitterFiction Festival, now in its second year. Held in March 2014, the festival featured authors Alexander McCall Smith, Graeme Simsion and Anthony Marra. 

And it’s not just fiction being tweeted – so is poetry. A fun example is @Pentametron, whose creator Ranjit Bhatnagar created an algorithm that searches Twitter for stress patterns and rhyme. @Pentametron’s function? “With algorithms subtle and discrete/ I seek iambic writings to retweet.”

If you like the idea of 140 character stories, then there are plenty of online publications dedicated to just that, like escarp, Nanoism.net and Seven By Twenty.

Twitter writing has been criticised for being awkward for longer form stories, but I think it’s always important to experiment with form and medium… And I’m all for writing in any form. It’s easy to read and even easier to submit! Maybe PRISM international should join in?