Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and smart phones are not merely new avenues of disseminating fiction. They create new parameters and challenges for fiction to utilize. The medium matters — there is no such thing as a "neutral" medium.
The main mistake readers make is believing that the content is transferable between mediums — that a story on Twitter is the same as a story on Facebook or on a blog or a cellphone. The printed word, though we're grown accustomed (comfortable!) to reading it between bound sheaves (a codex), was formerly read and written differently when in a long, continuous sheet (a scroll).
So what will fiction look like when explored in new electronic formats?
New literary journals are trying to show us.
Shape of a Box, on youtube, is a type of spoken word/image-enhanced literary journal. It only publishes on youtube — no other medium — which I think is crucial for journals trying to hone in on the heartbeat of a particular genre.
Cell Stories, designed only for reading on your cell phone.
And though it's not exclusively published on Twitter, don't forget Electric Literature's experiment with Rick Moody's Twitter-specific story. 140-character bursts, from the alpha to the omega. It's doesn't take much of a soothsayer to predict a full fledged lit journal only publishing Twitter stories in the future. The constraints only make it seem more enticing.
And though this post has mainly focused on new technologies, how about springing for the old? Abe's Penny serializes short stories on four postcards. That's right — through snail mail. They call it "micro-publication," but I call it cool.
And The Facebook Review started a few years ago. It's hoary and venerable now. Online journals don't age in dog years, they age in flea years. Three years is geriatric. Anyways, The Facebook Review publishes, markets, and edits all within the confines of facebook.
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