Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Flash Poetry (Twitterzine)

According to ralan.com, there is a new twitter poetryzine, Microcosms. If you hurry, you can be their first follower. They're in their first submission phase and will print original science fiction/fantasy/horror single-tweet poetry ($1) and reprints (exposure).

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tweeting Stories a Mixed Blessing--Rick Moody

Novelist Rick Moody, known especially for his novel The Ice Storm, experimented by tweeting a short story, "Some Contemporary Characters," in 153 tweets over three days, according to this Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy article: Rick Moody’s Twitter Short Story Draws Long List of Complaints.

The experiment was complicated by at least three factors: two publishers were simultaneously publishing the story, some of the followers followed both publishers, and the publishers mixed the story tweets with ordinary tweets. Some followers therefore received duplicate tweets, and may also have received unrelated tweets interspersed with the story tweets. The immediacy of the tweets was one attractive aspect of the experiment for the author, but one can imagine other issues, too, such as time zone differences (killing the immediacy).

It seems like these are not insurmountable obstacles, the solution being, don't do that: don't simultaneously publish and don't mix tweets (by creating a special tweet address for the occasion). The complaint about the mixing of tweets seems specious; avid Twitterers may get tweets from many unrelated sources.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Social Networks/Real-Time Web: Solution Looking for a Problem

Media Bistro has an article about entrepreneurs and the "real-time web," the constant twittering, updating and general busyness on social networks. Since readers and writers are early adopters of these technologies, they might be interested in the attempts to make a buck from them. A graph in a sidebar in the article shows twitter.com traffic rising from about zero in February 2008 to 45 million visitors per month in June 2009.

Ron Conway anticipates making large investments in the real-time web:

He thinks there is at least $5 billion to be made on the real-time Web, from retailers providing instant discounts on Twitter to marketers targeting ads to people based on products or services they mention in tweets.

For the rest of the article, go here.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Twitpocalypse Now

Captain and intelligence officer Ben Willard wiped the gin from his chin as two superior army officers arrived at his hotel room to deliver him to a new, dangerous mission.

"Where are you inserting me?" said Willard.

One of the officers looked at his iPhone to get his instructions.

"Oh, dear me," said the war-weary officer, since FFO is a family magazine.

"What?" said Willard, who was always suspicious of higher officers.

"The message is coded...YAJL. I wonder what that means."

"Lemme look," said Willard. He snatched the iPhone and gasped. "That's no code. It's the twitpopcalypse! We're doomed."

To be continued...maybe.

The twitpopcalypse (which is incredibly difficult to type without error) has affected some twitter clients. In geekspeak, the unique number assigned to each tweet recently exceeded the range of unsigned 32-bit integers...the number of tweets got too big. Considering the little time the twittersphere has been with us, its popularity far exceeded the software developer's expectation. According to this twitpopcalypse article, the fix is easy but some users will be tweetless for a short time.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Twitter News: Worms and Twitterzines

On the positive side, Thaumatrope, a popular twitterzine has reopened for submissions:

We’re currently looking for stories for dates between September 14th and December 11th. We are also looking for serials for May through November.

On the negative side, the Twitter message service suffered some embarrassment [1 2] due to Easter weekend worms that sent unintended messages atwitter. Some of the comments on the first link are enlightening. All you had to do to become infected was to visit an infected user profile and you'd start spreading the infection. In theory, the problem has been patched.

For the geek-minded, the problem was poor coding practice that allowed URLs included in profile data to be displayed (non-escaped). Allegedly, the malicious new accounts that were the root of the infection were created by a rival service created by a 17-year-old.)

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Top Ten Tweets

Mashable has a list of the top ten most extraordinary Twitter "tweet updates." Tweets are the 140-character messages of the Twitter service. My favorite is the gadget that allows messages from the womb, although these days, perhaps the job offer via a tweet would be most appreciated. You be the judge.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guardian UK Nixes Ink, Says OMG to Tweets

In a huge move that will turn the newspaper industry upside down, UK's The Guardian will switch to a twitter-only publication, including its online archives that go back to 1831. For example, the story of the invasion of Poland that began WWII has been converted to:

"OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"

Now, I'm as telecommunicationally liberal as the next fellow, but I think that story deserves two tweets. You know, one tweet for Paris Hilton stories, two tweets (maybe three) for world wars. And their announcement was a bit hypocritical, since it was not a tweet. In fact, it was a grotesque 4286 characters, a ozone-destroying 31 tweets. OK, Guardian, get your act together.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Tweeting the Globe for Clean Water for Kids

A Guardian writer, Paul Smith, will try to circumnavigate the globe relying entirely on the kindness of Twitter strangers for food, lodging and travel. Why? To raise money for a charity called Charity: Water. While traveling, he'll have the identity of TwitchHiker. This NYT times article has more of the details.

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Monday, January 5, 2009


Nothing is sacred. Now twitter has phishing, coming as direct messages. Details of twitter-scamming techniques are linked in the above article.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nano-Flash: Twitter Fiction

"Tell us a Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror story in under 140 characters. Other than that, we’re just looking for good stories," explains the submissions page for Thaumatrope, presumably the first spec-fic twitterzine. A twitterzine specializes in fiction that will fit in one twitter message: 140 characters, including spaces, about 24 words or so. They pay pro rates, 5-cents per word, so you'll earn $1.20 per accepted submission. Unfortunately, they only accept submissions via Federal Express...no, that was a joke. This should generate some good fun. I suggest they develop an online thesaurus of short words.

Category of this article: not anticipated by Nostradamus

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