The Millions

Bird Brain: Lauren Oyler, Patricia Lockwood, and the Literature of Twitter

There was no way for anyone to see it coming, of course—there never is. When the odd little microblogging service launched in 2006, it seemed like a nerdy joke, some bizarre configuration of the literature of constraint. What could be the point of trying to communicate in bursts of 140 characters? Twitter seemed like a novelty, a fad, a gimmick, a shiny toy that would dull quickly and be forgotten. Instead, it colonized the minds of millions of people, permanently altering the culture, spreading like some kind of digital kudzu, seeping down into the very neurons of whole classes and tribes of people. And this new medium proved particularly intoxicating for writers; writers and editors and journalists and critics and publishers

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