The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE MEMING OF LIFE -

While Twit­ter is mostly syn­ony­mous with cat memes, re­ac­tion gifs and the odd dec­la­ra­tion of war, there are many us­ing its bite-sized con­straints to cre­ate more sub­stan­tial fare; sharp, short­form sto­ries that would be im­pos­si­ble in any other medium.

Last year we en­coun­tered some stel­lar en­tries to the form, most no­tably the still-on­go­ing creep-a-thon that was Dear David. This year fol­lowed in the same vein, and this month alone has de­liv­ered more than a few ge­nius ad­di­tions to the canon, us­ing Twit­ter’s seg­mented threads as a ten­sion-build­ing de­vice.

Let’s be bru­tally hon­est. If a bor­ing old dec­la­ra­tion of a war de­scrib­ing bombs as “nice” and “smart” were de­liv­ered on pa­per rather than in a tweet, lit­tle about it would change. The same can’t be said for those Twit­ter threads that lead the reader on a rum­ble-tum­ble path­way of twists and turns.

So it was that @MeAndMyBigMouth told an in­trigu­ing story of work­ing in a record shop in Southend, drip-feed­ing the details of their quest to ap­pre­hend a das­tardly van­dal at work among the clas­si­cal racks.

Of course, no crime story was as riv­et­ing, as heart-stop­ping, as spirit­edly spell­bind­ing, as Zac Toscani’s re­cent true crime saga The Stolen Lunch. Toscani be­gan his now leg­endary epic with the sort of bom­bas­tic open­ing for which most crime writ­ers would trade a lesser ven­tri­cle.

“Co-worker got his lunch stolen,” he tweeted breath­lessly, as the world’s para­noid of­fice work­ers inched for­ward in their swivel chairs. “They’ve agreed to let him watch the se­cu­rity cam­era tape. This is the most ex­cited I’ve ever been at any job ever. Ever.”

I’ll not spoil it here, but the ge­nius of Toscani’s thread – which has gar­nered more than half-a-mil­lion likes in two weeks – was its blend of mys­tery and mun­dan­ity, turn­ing low-level of­fice drama into a nar­ra­tive as com­pelling as any spy thriller. All of which earned the saga the en­vi­able nick­name “Fridge Of Spies”.

Fi­nally, on the po­lar op­po­site end of the mun­dan­ity spec­trum was the sheer jaw-un­hing­ing majesty of co­me­dian Guy Kelly, AKA @brain­mage.

Per­haps best known by his dis­play name Prof Bi­son Sex­horn, Kelly this week re­vealed his EN­TIRE last month’s post­ings were part of one long, in­tri­cate and ut­terly bonkers prank.

“HEY! You,” he wrote. “Yes, you. Go back and read the first word of each of my tweets. And keep going. And going. And going.”

Any­one fol­low­ing this in­struc­tion was soon to be stunned, be­mused and, above all, im­pressed to dis­cover the oth­er­wise sane hu­man had been seed­ing four weeks’ worth of posts with the lyrics to Avril Lav­i­gne’s 2007 song Girl­friend.

If that’s not push­ing the bound­aries of mod­ern cul­ture, then what is?

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