I think it is fairly easy to conclude that with the advent of social networking and information being streamed online, the paper-back versions of long stories and short stories alike are facing an uphill struggle to retain readership.
Where once books were the best companions of intellectuals, as they still are, such type of intellectuals are themselves dwindling. A new age has begun. This is the age where you can download ‘e-books’, read them on your kindle, your tablet, your computer or even your smartphone.
This outsourcing of literature has made literature accessible to a wide range of audience. Moreover, the cost for doing so is remarkably low which means the cost at which these books, or more appropriately the ‘e-books’, are sold is also lower than the ones available in the market in a physical, hardcopy format.
However, there has been an unforeseen negative consequence of literature outsourcing as well. When someone is accessing a book via a smartphone, a tablet or a computer, he or she will become more susceptible to ‘distractions’ because these devices offer a variety of other exciting services that are available if internet access is available, or even without it.
These distractions mean that not only would less people actually read the books they have downloaded, but they will tend to read shorter books so that they could ‘expend’ more time in ‘discovering’ the world of internet.
But here’s the amazing aspect to notice here – which sometimes makes me refer back to the biology lessons in my class – stories have found a way to adapt to this new environment.
Short stories are becoming shorter and shorter, yet the form that they are taking is also noteworthy.
We now read more anecdotes on Facebook about the ‘Humans Of New York‘ or ‘Stories That Shocked The World‘, but we have another medium that is brewing up some breeding space for the literature to adapt; Twitter.
This has been done several times before, but it recently caught my eye. Have a look.
Now if you read all of the tweets above, it should become obvious to you that the user is communicating a story with his followers. Some of you might not be able to understand the tweets because they’re mostly Urdu written in English script, so let me assure you that the format the user has employed subconsciously or consciously (only he knows) is something that, in one way or another, resembles that of a short story.
There is a buildup. Real-time characters are present playing their role in an incident. There is suspense and as you read the tweets, you feel the need to get to know the conclusion; of what’s going to happen eventually. All the while, you’re loving the suspense and the build up pace that has been set up.
This is just a small example of what a short story in the future, on Twitter could look like. There is great potential for writers who are interested to write in such a format. They can instantly have a good fan following, not only that, but they can also mould the format of a short story within the restrictions of Twitter. So for example, the writer with his main account can start tweeting a story, and there could be ‘reply tweets‘ to the story-line tweets which belong to the characters embedded in the story, forming a conversation.
There is so much to do in such a flexible format. And its viable.
I believe that this trend will eventually catch up, and what better place is there for ‘trends‘ to initiate but on Twitter?