Love In The Time of 140 Characters or Less
If the amount of ex-boyfriends/ex-people I used to bone trying to get back in touch with me out of nowhere all of a sudden is any indication, it seems this new year has especially been about taking inventory of one’s life. It’s a time of self-reflection, a High Fidelity-style “what does it all mean?” quest, if you will, and of course, probably about 50% Valentine’s Day-related panic.
Well, media nexus mastermind Ryan Chapman of FSG/Macmillan Publishing is already ten steps ahead of you. He’s created an experiment on Twitter called Love Talk (#lovetalk) in which anyone can essentially summarize their current or past relationships within the character restrictions of Twitter– 140 characters or less. In his own words:
Many of you are familiar with Smith Magazine‘s 6 Word Memoir project, where autobiographies are composed with the restrictions famously laid down by Hemingway. (Legend has it he said he could write a short story using only six words: 'œFor sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.')
I thought it would be fun to tweak this concept toward the subject of a recent FSG/Faber & Faber title, Us: Americans Talk About Love by John Bowe. In a Studs Turkel-esque fashion, Bowe canvassed the country getting people’s first-person accounts of love. All the various lengths of relationships, types, and dirty proclivities. They range from the sweet to the, um' intimate, from playground love to bitterness to polyamory. (More here, including recent articles.)
What better way to boil things down to their essential parts, right? Maybe it’s finally time for you to call a spade a spade and get the past off your chest for the whole Twitter-nets to witness. Think of yourself as channeling Bergman if for some reason he went to a Catholic Confession solely to discuss relationships…on the internet. Ok, so that was a bit of a stretch– Ryan clearly explained it much more thoughtfully/coherently.
Here are a few gems from the experiment so far:
* Submitted Anonymously: Only need to date one virgin older than you to swear them off forever. (8 days) #lovetalk
* ami_with_an_i: It was good to learn so early that not all boys in leather jackets secretly have the souls of poets. (3 mos-past) #lovetalk
* AnnaOBrien: He cheated & I got even. I guess in the end we both won & lost (3 years) #lovetalk
* AVAY: “It’s worth more to me now that I can use it against you.” (1.5yrs) #lovetalk
* katerados: (2 years, then 3 weeks, then 1 year, then 4 days) We shouldn’t have even tried #lovetalk
* Annsganistan: Love means never having an entire art show feat. you in the nude without your permission (10 mos – past rel) #lovetalk
Wow, check out that last one! Some people are really awful!