Literary writers talk about Twitter, Facebook, Google…
by Josh Kimball
Literary writers – what an awkward term in the subject line. I’m not really sure what to call them, though. Literaturists?
-[Addition:] I should, of course, include Alexis Madrigal’s Atlantic essay in response to Zadie Smith in this list.
–Dave Eggers: “We’re blaming the kids, but we’re the ones who can’t stop checking our e-mail and adding the latest Google apps.” (He might mean Android apps. Or Google widgets?)
–Zadie Smith worries that the internet will become like Facebook (fair enough) “falsely jolly, fake-friendly, self-promoting, slickly disingenuous.)
–Susan Orlean says “When you finally meet, you spend most of your time chuckling over how much smaller/taller you look in your profile picture.”
–William Gibson says “I was never interested in Facebook or MySpace because they feel like malls to me. Twitter actually feels like the street.”
–Umberto Eco: “Google makes a list, but the minute I look at my Google-generated list, it has already changed. These lists can be dangerous — not for old people like me, who have acquired their knowledge in another way, but for young people, for whom Google is a tragedy.”
–Gary Shteyngart: [On the recently discovered Russian spy ring] “I think this is a holdover from when Russians knew so little about Americans, before YouTube, and it was impossible to figure out what makes these people tick. But I think it’s very easy to figure out what makes us tick.”
–Margaret Atwood: “So for me, anything that happens in social media is an extension of stuff we were already doing in some other way. So, it’s all human communication. And the form that most closely resembles the “tweet” is the telegram of old, which also was limited because you paid by the letter.”
–Mary Karr: “Scary iPad prayer apps about strapping on God’s armor as tho’ hardening to the day works,or the heart cld be safe from suffering. Not poss.” Another one from Karr: “I’m not using it to say, ‘I’m gonna be at Place X, buy my book.’ I’m trying to disseminate the lines of poetry that keep me from wanting to pound my head against the wall.”