As writer of The Paris Review Blog, I of course follow The Paris Review on Twitter. After spending this morning reading through the account’s tweets, I realized the suddenly obvious paradox of my actions. If I call myself a writer, why would I be subjecting myself to the horrors of the social media world, where anyone with the least amount of talent can make a claim in 140 characters and has the right—or rather, the audacity—to call himself a writer?
It’s all about the way you play the game, my friends. I myself am on Twitter (@misscocomae), and I understand its necessity. If I foresee any possibility of my personal success in the future, I certainly have to live, presently, in the future; therefore, I cannot sit in a dark corner of a soon-to-be-extinct bookstore, perusing over a copy of The Paris Review with my fellow colleagues and moping about the days when reading was the fashion and Fitzgerald was its model.
The world has indeed been translated online, but that does not mean I refuse to read the translation. I have devised myself a cunning outlook on the Twitter-verse that makes my time spent on the website worthy of praise by a world of technologically-skeptic literary lovers.
The insincere vanity of Twitter I refuse to see any longer; instead, I view my account’s activity as an old-fashioned soirée of sorts. In cyberspace, there is unlimited room for visitors to chat, gossip, and discuss the latest trends, yet by using specific “@” tweets, we can start up an intimate conversation in the crowd of meaningless noise. Think of it as a party straight out of The Great Gatsby. There’s room in Gatsby’s mansion for all of New York, from Wall Street’s finest to the drunk next door, but in the midst of it all, there’s a nice table outside where you and Nick Carraway—maybe even Jordan Baker—can sit down for a casual tête-à-tête about whether or not Jay Gatsby really is an Oxford man.
Jordan Baker’s party prerogative tends to describe my feelings toward Twitter best: “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” As the Jordan Baker of the Twitter party, I invite you to see the world of tweets and trending topics through an old-fashioned perspective. And just like one of Gatsby’s legendary parties, it starts all over again on the morrow, and you can come and go as you please. I guess it takes a literary girl to transform the cutting edge of social media’s future into a place where we can celebrate the former (and accurate) meaning of “being social.”
So come join the party. And pass the wine, if you may, in less than 140 characters.
If you’re the following kind, follow me on Twitter @misscocomae