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100 people you should follow on Twitter: A found poem

March 19, 2011



Remember the homework I neglected last week? Writing a found poem for class? I couldn’t bear to leave it undone. And so, home today with a son with the stomach bug (while the others ran around for hockey), I worked on it.

Since I started work, I’ve been on Twitter about a million times more than I ever was. And I have to tell you, I’m loving the tweets. Loving them. Of course, there’s a lot of useless stuff out there. But some of it is really bizarre and fun. And if you read enough of it, you do get a sense about what’s going on in the world. Not in-depth, of course, but telegraph style. Blah-blah-blah. Stop. Blah-blah-blah. Stop.

After a classmate pulled lines from Craigslist for her poem (nod to Melissa A.), I thought tweets would make great source material for a found poem, but I didn’t have a frame for them, no container. Then yesterday, I found PCMag’s “100 people you should follow on Twitter.” I put them in a list and ran through the stream this afternoon. It represents about a third of what I loved. know this is still too long, but it’s a draft. And it’s a poem-like thing. And that makes me happy.

It doesn’t quite fit the Big Tent Poetry prompt this week — unless you want to subtitle this “Trapped on Twitter” — but I haven’t been organized enough since I started working to write from specific prompts. Go here see what others wrote this week!


Built with exact quotes/excerpts from the tweets of selected individuals on PC Mag’s β€œThe 100 People You Should Follow on Twitter,” keeping some of the original capitalization, keeping all of the spelling and playing with punctuation.

Tweets from March 18-19, 2011 from Al Gore, Alyssa Milano, Anderson Cooper, Andy Ihnatko (journalist), Anil Dash (techie), Annie Colbert (ghost twitterer), Brian Heater (PCMag staff), Chris Luzader (techie), Cory Doctorow (author), Ellen DeGeneres, Farhad Manjoo (journalist), Jason Pollock (filmmaker and writer), John Green (author), John Gruber (Mac blogger), John Hodgman (PC Guy), Karl Rove, Katie Couric, Keith Olberman, Kelly Oxford (blogger), Kevin Rose (techie), Kevin Smith (director), Lady Gaga, Michael Arrington (techie), Michael Ausiello (entertainment writer), Michael Ian Black (comedian), Michael Moore, Nathan Fillion (actor), Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist), Neil Gaiman (author), Nicholas Kristof (journalist), Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller), Perez Hilton, Piers Morgan, Rachel Sterne (techie), Rainn Wilson (actor), Roger Ebert, Ryan Penagos (editor, Marvel Comics), Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman and others), Steve Martin, Tammy Tibbets (feminist activist), Veronica Belmont (gamer) and Warren Ellis (graphic novelist).

  1. March 20, 2011 12:25 am

    Whodathunk. It makes for a good read plus some new names for following. πŸ™‚

    • March 20, 2011 8:43 am

      i’ve been wanting to do this for a while. i’d see a tweet and think, “oh! what a great line!” and i’d pass it by or move onto something else. up until i found this list, i was going to go with charlie sheen’s tweets, but this is better. i still may do a charlie sheen one, though.

  2. March 20, 2011 1:35 am

    I love how you capture the all to frequent inaneness of our social media. So many people who think they’re oh so profound and clever … and who aren’t. πŸ™‚

    • March 20, 2011 8:45 am

      what i find interesting is that there *is* something — not profound, but something close to it — about the “in the minute” impressions and the vernacular. yes, people are trying too hard to be clever, but i think it’s just delightful. some of it’s inane, sure. a lot of it is. but it’s also fascinating. πŸ™‚

  3. March 20, 2011 7:51 am

    This is hilarious and oh so very sad. You captured the obsurdities so well.
    Blimey –
    these are really momentous times.

    • March 20, 2011 8:47 am

      it’s absurd and hilarious and sad. true. but i like twitter. i really do. i didn’t before b/c i didn’t “get” it, but it’s value is becoming clearer to me the more i work with it.

      isn’t it great what people say on the fly about very momentous times? blimey!

  4. March 20, 2011 8:40 am

    I have been following the Japan news on Twitter and have been doing some copying down because there is an immediacy to it. Your list should be fun to go back through and revise because there is so much material to work with. I think you will find several directions to go in and now you have a new source! I do enjoy working on found poetry.

    • March 20, 2011 8:50 am

      thanks, margo! it is going to be a tough one to revise, i think! i’m not sure how i’ll handle it. i’m debating about “less is more” — but then the sheer volume of tweets (i think i saw at stat that it’s one billion per week) is part of the twitter experience. we’ll see.

      there is an immediacy to them (tweets). you’re right.

  5. March 20, 2011 12:22 pm

    As Madeleine said there are so many who think they are profound or clever. Quite a funny found poem, Carolee.

  6. thingy permalink
    March 20, 2011 2:30 pm

    This is so clever. I don’t tweet, but I have looked at a few. They can be hilarious.

  7. March 20, 2011 5:17 pm

    Good work. That second stanza in particular reads like a solo voice. Some bits are just too good: We had a fight, in 1978, subway cars tossed into sea. Love it.

  8. March 24, 2011 5:16 pm

    Favorite bit: Rebecca Black’s breakfast. “Holy, deadly, rough, immediate.” Awesome awesome awesome.

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