I started this blog almost five years ago because I was interested in how Twitter historically and experientially altered subjectivity. I hardly ever write about Twitter, but I think about it often. Here’s a clip from 2000, about humanism in biography. Interesting how much has changed in fourteen years– functional autobiographical language isn’t quite as sparse anymore, and Twitter is responsible:
A therapy of writing would attend to its more obvious symptomatic failures such as a poverty of style in which the arts of rhetoric are lost to functional language providing instrumental outcomes: form-filling, memoranda, plain description, bullet-points, summaries, reports, task-based analyses, and pro forma. These puritan forms are purposefully devoid of surprise, indeterminacy, invention, imagination, florid excess, disturbance, or ‘story’ that would offer a ‘Counter-Reformation’ explosion of style.
Bleakley, Alan. “Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” Reflective Practice, 1.1 (2000): 11-24. Web. 10 March 2014.
Even on the most macro level, it would be hard to argue that Twitter doesn’t encourage “Today I did x y and z” narrative. We’re still confessional, but we’ve subsidized confessionalism with concretism. And even when we talk about ourselves in emotional, personal, cogito-y ways, we augment those narratives with more “functional” documents like photos, screencaps, and copypasta. (Though clearly earlier versions of all three phenomena existed in diaries, too.) Also, earnestness — unlike in a diary or biography — isn’t compulsory.
been eating a lot of cum to give my cum that extra cumy taste
— Nick Caron (@NickCaron) March 10, 2014
— Degenerate Gandhi (@Bro_Pair) March 10, 2014
Tot fork in action: pic.twitter.com/rjdb2BNXIZ
— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) March 10, 2014
Also, it should be pretty clear by now that “florid excess” and “functional language” aren’t always in binary relation.