Vol. 7, Issue 3, October 13, 2009
To Tweet, or Not to Tweet
I was alphabetizing my Scotch the other morning when my slovenly nephew Ephram, the dissolute head of our news division, slouched into my office with a purposeful Stride that I knew bespoke an Expensive scheme in the making. I gestured him into the largest chair with cheerful aplomb, while quietly slipping my Pocket-watch into the secret pouch of my waistcoat for Safekeeping (always a sensible Precaution when Ephram is on the prowl).
"Uncle Zeke," he began with his customary Lack of formality, "we need to bring the Review into the Twenty-First century. It is time we opened a Twitter account."
"Twitter?" I asked in astonishment. "Twittering is not a Fit pursuit for hale and hearty Journalists, my boy! Did not Homer say that the restless shades of Hades twittered about, harmless as falling Leaves, around brave Odysseus when he visited the Underworld?"
Ephram made some Impatient gesture. "No, Uncle Zeke, with a Twitter account we can Tweet to our readers."
Astonished, I leapt to my Feet and examined Ephram closely for signs of Unwholesome influences, sniffing the air Clandestinely for traces of anything he ought not to be Smoking.
"Good Heavens, man, is not the English Language rich enough for you, that you must stoop to borrowing from other Species? Shall we Bark next, or perhaps Low to our readers as well? What, in God's name, has Tweeting to do with Journalism?"
"No, no, Uncle Zeke: Twitter is a wire service that allows us to publish brief updates."
Ah. Now this was making more Sense. Odd name for a Wire Service, but then the Webamagraph has ever been a magnet to those of Delicate, and dare I say Unstable, mental sensibilities.
"Well then," I said cautiously, taking my Seat once more, "that is another Matter. How brief must these Updates be?" It was then that Ephram told me the sadly Preposterous limitations of this technological Marvel.
"A hundred and forty Characters?" I said incredulously. "I have brands of Scotch here with Names longer than that! How is one to tell a Story in such an Abysmally short sentence without resorting to the art of the Haiku?"
"Well," said Ephram, scratching himself in a most Uncouth manner, "give me a Story and I'll show you how it's Done."
"Very well," I said, rising to the Challenge. "There was the delicate matter of Lieutenant Governor Peter Thornsby, who, accidentally Bumping into a wayward Jogger while on Vacation in a large Greek island, managed to Injure himself at a crucial moment of his Campaign, depriving him of the opportunity to Debate his opponent and, hence, leading to the loss of his Position."
Ephram thought but a Moment.
"Pete meets defeat after greeting fleet feet in Crete."
"Financial institution undergoes failure due to Misguided Antics of vice-president Henry Patterson!" I retorted Thunderfully.
"Bank tanks thanks to Hank's prank!" was my nephew's quick Riposte.
"Marine mammal's timely vocalization facilitates Conclusion of Advertising Contract with the Makers of Tylenol!" I desperately spluttered.
"Seal's squeal seals deal with McNeil!" the lad replied with what, for Him, approaches Animation.
"An obese but plucky Simian causes Strife with a butler's Room-mate due to its distinctive Odor!" I cried, clutching my Desk for support.
"Spunky chunky monkey too funky for flunky's bunkie!"
To this, I genuinely had no Response. What was there to Say? I exhaled Briskly, gazing out the mullioned Window at the street Below as I absently polished my Pince-nez, waving Ephram out of my Office with a resigned Nod, setting him loose to whatever Tweeting activites he saw Fit. There is no escaping Progress, I suppose, even if it means that Journalism, this venerable and distinctly American vocation, has gone to the Birds.