Virginia Heffernan is one of my favorite writers at The New York Times, along with Rob Walker and a few others. She writes for the Sunday Magazine and also keeps a blog up.
Today she strolls down Facebook Update Lane. Her friend Lizzie, a poet, has a theory about this new literary form.
“Unlike ALL other walks of life, status updates are the appropriate places for spontaneous bursts of joy and being. You shouldn’t do it at work, you shouldn’t do it in the middle of a conversation, you shouldn’t do it on the street, you shouldn’t turn to a stranger on the bus, you shouldn’t leave it on someone’s cellphone. But on this grand constantly updating Christmas card that we are all free to access or withdraw from at any time, we FINALLY have a polite space for ‘My sponge smells like a hot dog.’ “
Heffernan doesn’t say who “Lizzie” is, but it might be Elizabeth Spiers.
What matters though is the poetry. Twitter too. These small spaces for type do provide a new opportunity for text-based meaning shapers.