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Twitterprose Lives Again

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. — Theodore Levitt (quoted in Helene Blowers, “Innovation Starts with ‘I’“)

I revived Twitterprose yesterday, and will try to keep it going for a while.

Twitterprose publishes a line a day (6 a.m. Eastern Time) from the best creative nonfiction. You can follow Twitterprose (at least) three ways:

It’s a blog! Subscribe to the Twitterprose feed, and you’re done.

It’s a Twitter feed! If you’re a Twitter user, just follow Twitterprose.

It’s right here on this dad-blame blog! If you read Free Range Librarian from the blog itself (versus through a reader such as Bloglines), today’s Twitterprose is on the left, below the search box.

I started Twitterprose last June, when I was in between my first and second jobs in Tallahassee. I stopped updating in August, when I was getting busy with my new job, starting a community writing critique group, continuing to write and revise personal writing, and otherwise dog-paddling through life.

But last night I grumpily decided to upgrade this blog to WordPress 2.5 — not because I was bursting to see the new WordPress administrative interface with its adorably unreadable eensy-teensy fonts (think “serial number on the back of an iPod”), but because there’s reportedly some bug that afflicts earlier versions of WordPress.

I say “reportedly” because though I read a panicky tweet on Twitter and saw some blog posts, I don’t see this bug reported on the WordPress blog. I hope I baven’t been FUDded into this upgrade (FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), but I don’t need to get on the road and find my blog has been misbehaving.

So I upgraded poor neglected Twitterprose, on the assumption that if it died, that would be a clear warning (poor little Twitterprose, serving as the queen’s taster). The first question is always “can I post to my blog,” and so I rummaged through my bookshelves for a sacrificial first line.

(The upgrade went well. But I resignedly gird my loins for the next “OMG you must upgrade WordPress NOW” post.)

When I flipped through Jeffrey Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything, I remembered why I like doing Twitterprose.

I’m a reader, a writer, and a librarian. Why wouldn’t I want to select great first lines from creative nonfiction and share them with the hungry world? I’m also a bit of a geek. Why wouldn’t I want to use social software to do this? I’m also plowing through acres of books and essays right now as I work on an review essay about food writing, so it’s not as if I’m short of good things to share.

I’m also feeling the afterglow of Helene Blowers’ talk at Computers in Libraries this week about the “I in Innovation” (see her slides).

As Helene drummed into us this Tuesday, creativity is well and good, but innovation is defined by action. When Twitterprose stopped, no one rushed in to fill its gap. Debra Hamel does a marvelous job with Twitterlit, but Twitterprose focuses exclusively on creative nonfiction. I also try to link to online journals, LibraryThing, WorldCat, and the occasional obscure bookseller, leaving Amazon as a source of last resort. Nothing wrong with Amazon — I shop there regularly — but the librarian in me wants to do more than offer up first lines; I want to share new and interesting places to find them.

(The social networker in me also hopes you’ll share your own ideas for great reading I can highlight in Twitterprose.)

So let me try once more. I’ve salted Twitterprose with great lines for the next several days which will automagically appear whilst I romp in Miami at IA Summit 2008, courtesy of a tool called Twitterfeed and the WordPress scheduled posting function.

Let’s see if I can make time in my life to cup my hands around the small flame of this idea.

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