How Twitter Is a New Medium for Storytelling

Tracy Clayton
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(The Root) — From dating to finding work to expanding businesses, social media are revolutionizing the way we do things. They're also changing the face of storytelling.

Since Twitter is intended for short bursts of thought that can be encapsulated in 140 characters or less, it may be surprising that it is a great place to tell stories. But it's not unlike sitting at your grandmother's feet listening to a tale in real time, and for the storyteller, there's the advantage of being able to reach a wider audience via retweets. Yes, Twitter is typically for quick, short updates, but generally, if the story is interesting, people won't mind hanging in there till the end. A good Twitter story is a work of art in its own right.


With the online tool Storify, we can gather and document these stories to be read and shared in perpetuity. It's kind of helped to create a new form of literature: stories born as the audience watches, concisely told, yet captivatingly written.

One such story came from the timeline of John Stanton of Buzzfeed, who told an amazing, poignant tale of gentrification in Washington, D.C., via the story of a homeless man named Raymond. It caught the eyes and ears of scores of tweeters, who happily put off sleeping until the end (it was told at 2 in the morning). Check out bits of the story below, and the full story here.  


Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.

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