Twick or Tweet

Back in the seventies there was a lot of talk about the generation gap, the set of things that separates one generation from another. For example, my parents did not wear bell bottom jeans. I did. These jeans were one small part of the generation gap between me and my parents.

Music is another important part of the gap. As a child, I was defined by The Monkees, The Beatles and later The Boomtown Rats and Madness. My parents: Mitch Miller and George Jones.

In more recent times, technology has become perhaps the most important piece of the generation gap puzzle. It seems that kids these days are born knowing how to use devices that people of my generation can only stare at in wonder, waiting for them to open cans or launch a nuclear device.

As I approach my sixth decade (that’s age 50 for those of you who aren’t on top of the math thing), I’ve decided that I need to take a stand on what defines my personal generation gap. Thus, Twitter does not exist for me. Oh, I’ve used the MySpace and still use Facebook (while secretly hating it), but I have not and will never tweet.

But recently I’ve discovered books that use the limitations of social networking (i.e. how many characters can be in an entry) as a starting point. And this I find interesting. Setting a strict limitation and then trying to create art within that limitation is an exciting exercise.

And so, I leave you with a few titles, some twicks, some tweets.

The Ten, Make that Nine, Habits of very Organized People. Make that Ten: The Tweets of Steve Martin by Steve Martin 

Steve Martin is a generation older than I, but he decided to explore Twitter as a means of keeping his comedy chops sharp, of perhaps creating new material that he could use on his current bluegrass tour, and finally as a way of receiving funny responses from his followers. He has collected some of his tweets into a slim volume, perhaps a thirty minute read. It’s not the funniest book I’ve come across, but it is charming and fun to see how Mr. Martin used Twitter in perhaps a different way than most users, and how his usage evolved over time.

Eat Tweet: a Twitter Cookbook by Maureen Evans 

Yes Virginia, there is a Twitter cookbook. This collection of 1000 recipes follows the tweet format of 140 characters or less per entry, providing social networkers with a veritable feast of outstanding food. Betty Crocker, move over. But just a little bit; these recipes don’t take up much space.

Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less by Alexander Aciman 

The premise of this book is to synopsize literary classics in less than twenty tweets (making the maximum number of characters available 2800), with a sense of humor. This limitation forces long passages to be described succinctly. For example, from Tolkien’s The Hobbit: “Walking walking walking … Still walking – this is so boring!” Good for a chuckle or three.

iDrakula by Bekka Black 

Bekka Black’s iDrakula is a modernization of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The original text consisted of letters and diaries, and this update uses a similar format but with text messages, emails and Web browser screenshots. The story is not an exact retelling of Stoker’s classic, but Black sets an excellent tone with the opening text: “Renfield had a psychotic break. Carted off to Bellevue. More l8r.” An excellent addition to the Dracula canon.

For some more social networking inspired books, try the following:

Tweet Heart: a Novel in E-mails, Blogs, and Tweets by Elizabeth Rudnick
The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel by Daniel Sinker
Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros