March 2018: #TwitterFlash

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 17, 2018

By C. Jai Ferry

Technology has taught us that change is inevitable. Whether you think of technology as electric typewriters and mimeographs or smart homes and driverless cars, every piece of technology has changed the world in both expected and unexpected ways. Often the most fascinating shifts have occurred when users utilize the technology in new ways. Who would have ever expected the Daguerreotype to have spawned an entire culture of using our phones to take photos of our food and post them for our social networks to ooh and aah (not to mention entire films being produced using iPhones!)?

Computer technology, including software and apps like Twitter, can have far-reaching effects, especially when users begin to experiment with them. One example is using plagiarism software to unveil a new source for Shakespeare’s plays. The scholars who discovered this are not suggesting Shakespeare plagiarized, but decided to adapt a new technology in a way that allowed them to compare one author’s works to other works published at the time.

Social media is no different. Although created as a way to connect users from around the world, it is constantly evolving (anyone who uses Facebook knows that its changes are legendary—love them or hate them). But the owners of social media aren’t the only one driving the shifts in how these tools are used. Users can decide how and why to use social media as well. Police use social media to track suspects, fire departments use Twitter to communicate with affected communities when phone lines are jammed, and travelers can use their vacation photos to help stop human trafficking.

Storytellers have many, many reasons to use social media, but first, we have to get out of the mindset that the various forms of social media are only for marketing or connecting with fans. Yes, social media tools do both of these, but they can also be used to do so much more. I am sure that more than a few of us have used a screwdriver to do something other than turn screws. And don’t get me started on balloons, which were not created for holding down a makeshift fort by filling them with water on a hot summer day! As storytellers, we are uniquely qualified to find new and unexpected uses for these tools.

March Challenge

For this month’s #Twitterflash, you have options from which to choose. Choose one, choose them all, or choose any that tickle your fancy, but play around, have fun, and come back at the end of the month and let us know what you learned.

Options (in no particular order)

  1. Write a complete story in dialogue between multiple people using only hashtags for the dialogue. Tweet your story.
  2. Let one of your characters take over your Twitter account for several days. What would he/she tweet about? How would he/she “speak” in tweets? Reply to others?
  3. Tweet a #Twitterflash, then use Twitter Moments to summarize your story in a visual form.
  4. Want to try a dyad (or triad)? Find a writing partner on Twitter and write a “folding story” (each person adds to the story one sentence at a time).
  5. Choose five photos from morguefile.com and attach each one to a tweet that tells your story. Bonus points for creating a collection on Twitter.

Remember to use #Twitterflash when you tweet your stories.

Don’t let the options restrict you. If you see something else you’d like to try or have an idea about using Twitter, give it a whirl. Just remember to come back here at the end of the month and share what you learned with the community (and get a few new ideas for yourself). And don’t forget to explore what other Carrot Ranchers are doing by searching for the #Twitterflash hashtag.

Ready…set…tweet tweet.

C. Jai Ferry is a flash fiction freak, human trafficking warrior, and Master Ninja at novellaninjas.com, an online space promoting published short stories and novellas to readers. Her titles include Unraveled, a collection of microfiction and flash fiction stories, and “Skeleton Dance,” 2014 winner of the Vermillion Literary Project Short Story Contest, which was turned into a film and included in the 2016 Nebraska Noir collection. She tweets from @CJaiFerry

Carrot Ranch’s Twitterflash 2018 is a monthly challenge focused on expanding writers’ use of Twitter as a tool for writing. Throughout the year, writers will experiment with storytelling via tweets using the following areas of focus:

  • Content
  • Hashtags
  • Engagement
  • Retweets
  • Visual Aids
  • Polls
  • Multiple tweets

Have an area you’d like included in this year’s Twitterflash project? Drop me a line.

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18 Comments

  1. Charli Mills

    When I was in college, we discussed how Shakespeare “recycled” numerous stories, including one that Chaucer wrote, which he also recycled from a known Italian tale. It would be interesting to revisit those discussions. Technology has always been changing because our minds are always creating new uses and solutions. Thank you for the options this month! I have not made a Twitter Moment so I definitely know I’d like to do that.

    And if anyone is interested in doing a folding story, let’s see how many of us we can get involved!

    Thanks, C. Jai! You are giving us good practice on Twitter.

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Yikes. More twitterish.

    (psst… check the date on the banner)

    • Charli Mills

      Work your twitter muscles, D.! And thanks for the proof!

    • C. Jai Ferry

      “twitterish” — love that!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Almost said twittershit but this tries to be a nice site. It all seems a might much. Yet, if a line gets pitched my way I just might swing, if only compulsively.

      • Charli Mills

        Okay, D. — you are up next. I started with “PART 1” so we have a way to keep track. And I used more than one sentence. I almost marked it #TwitterFlask which C Jai might need after all the bellyaching we all do over Twitter exercises! I also checked out Twitter Moments, but haven’t decided on a strategy, yet. Here goes:

        PART 1: The bells toll to mark the noon hour. Gretta chomped a stale hunk of gum and wiped down the empty cafe counter. She remembered a time when the bells tolled for mass and funerals — hellos and goodbyes of a community. #TwitterFlash #CarrotRanch

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Left part 2 in the twitterzone; don’t know who wants part 3. Gum?

        Part 2: Maybe it was the death knell for the café. Where was the lunch crowd? Well, if she thought about it, many of the regulars, those that had come since her father ran the café, had died. Like him. She blew a bubble then finally spat out her gum. #TwitterFlash #Carrot Ranch

      • Charli Mills

        Good one, D. I like the extended reasoning for the shift in town dynamics and the spitting out of the gum. I’ll hit up Ann next unless C. Jai wants to jump in…

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Again, you overestimate me, always trying to make me come off as a writer… I was just getting rid of that gum.

  3. Jules

    I once read that Shakespeare was either a) multiple people and or b) a woman … Technology is amazing. Wasn’t it just the other day someone found a new dinosaur in Texas…

    While I am not into tweeting… good luck to all who do!

    • Charli Mills

      I’ve heard some fun theories about Shakespeare. Historically, we have more documented evidence about Chaucer than we do Will, which is in part why we have all the theories. Regardless, The Bard was brilliant!

      I ‘ll have to look up the dinosaur! Thanks, Jules!

  4. Ann Edall-Robson

    C. Jay this looks like it would be fun. The brain bolted in several directions and that might be the detering factor – which direction to wander in.

    • Charli Mills

      Ann, do you want to add a line to a community Twitterflash? I’ll post in the comments here when I get one started! I know — my mind bolted in many directions, too! Now I’m looking to connect them all. I’m glad we have this chance to practice and grow on Twitter with a literary focus.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        That just might be the way to go Charli. I am still in a flux with a couple of other ideas as well, but this offer seems more realistic to go with. Thanks.

      • Charli Mills

        Ann, have you played with Twitter Moments, yet? It seems an interesting way to take your creative output (words and photos) and create moments by connecting some in an interesting way — it has good story-telling potential.

    • C. Jai Ferry

      You can always try a different direction each week, see which one really takes off. 😀

      • Charli Mills

        That’s a good idea, C. Jai!

  5. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing the TwitterFlash!

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