Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to write posts and tweets. I hate it, but don’t see any way around it if you would like at least a few readers. The writing itself is OK — I like short things anyway. But when the snippet floats by in a stream of everything, unfiltered, in a soup of phrases and sentences, the spaces between it and the next thing stuffed with hashtags, it seems like something has shattered forever.
I want a name for it, at least — the tweets, posts, comments, responses — quick, short and self-contained, usually assertive, and probably “ours”, that is, characteristic of us now as no earlier kind of writing could be. Like any writing, it’s difficult to do well, which may be why it degenerates so often into expletives, insults or endless, empty niceties.
Anyway, I like the phrase “site-writing”. An enterprising person named Jane Rendell is claiming that phrase for a kind of architectural criticism that interests her, that reports the effects of specific space, or more specifically the relationship between a built space and its surroundings — and us, of course. At first, I thought my thoughts about the phrase were absolutely at odds with hers; but maybe not. A website is — or should be — specific, I think. It should mark out an area, set priorities and limits — ideally have a bit of visual identity as well. Writing for such a site will necessarily consist of bytes and bits, and beyond that, will succeed or fail depending on how it supports, confronts, contributes to what’s around it, that is, the site.
p.s. (are there post-scripts in site-writing?) “Post-writing” would be a contender, too, but I suspect I like the sound, the rhythm of “site-writing”.