Beautiful tweets

The New York Times may have banned use of the word “tweet”, but the Hay Festival in Whales recently held a contest to select the “most beautiful tweet”. Contest judge, Stephen Fry selected this “clever” and “evocative” missive as the winner:

”I believe we can build a better world! Of course, it’ll take a whole lot of rock, water & dirt. Also, not sure where to put it.” — Marc MacKenzie

Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University have found 200 year old “tweets” in the mundane diary entries of from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Although I am an episodic writer and reader of tweets, I am convinced that future generations will benefit from the decision of the Library of Congress to archive tweets. Archivists have always been charged with the difficult task of forecasting the importance of items they select for preservation, and there is a good case to be made that archiving Twitter represents a smart calculation.

I am also convinced that Hay Festival organizer, Peter Florence is right when he notes:

“Good writing is good whatever format it’s in… There’s room for some really stylish prose. We all have two or three people whose tweets we really look forward to. It’s a little jolly and a leveller. We can all write tweets but not all of us can write poems or novels.”

Read more at Twitterpated from the New Yorker Book Bench blog.

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