Follow TeleRead on Twitter by clicking hereWith all the Jonathan Franzen-style bleating about the grind of promoting yourself through Twitter and other social media, it’s worth highlighting an instance when someone sums up what actually works for Tweeting writers. After all, if you’re going to be “absolutely coerced into this constant self-promotion,” at least make sure that you’re doing it right, yeah?

In “10 authors who are brilliant at Twitter,” The Guardian Books Blog groups together its pick of the masters (and mistresses) of the new medium. Joyce Carol Oates is one author who need make no apology for Tweeting as well as writing. You could reasonably suspect that Paulo Coelho owes his 9.22 million followers to celebrity as much as wit and originality, though. And it’s clear that wit is one of the main requirements for a memorable Tweeter. I could almost embrace Alain de Botton for Tweeting “The best cure for one’s bad tendencies is to see them fully developed in someone else.” The Guardian cites many other great one-liners, some perhaps destined for future manuals of Twitter style. Jackie Collins, though? Even if she does Tweet about men having sex with rubber floats…

And lest you poo-poo this new literary form, just remember how important the aphorism and the epigram have been as vehicles for great thought concisely expressed. Some writers have built their careers and reputations on them. Many of them run far shorter than a Tweet. And they’ve even given the English language adjectives like Wildean and Shavian. Whereas if Franzenesque ever becomes accepted as an adjective in English, it will probably denote joyless tiresome self-important self-pitying curmudgeonly rumination – at interminable length.


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