A BBC radio anchor/
Thinks Twitter a hotbed of rancour/
But some of us know it’s/
A place to find poets/
As well as the odd boorish person.///
This limerick was prompted by a discussion on the Today Programme on BB Radio 4 this morning, in which Justin Webb was interviewing Lemn Sissay and Helen Mort about the growing popularity of poetry among young people. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000255m (login required)
Lemn observed that the current generation of young people “have received more written words than any generation before them, since humans were on earth – because of the internet”. To which Justin responded “But those words are hateful, and prosaic… there’s no poetry on Twitter – well, not much!”
This prompted a spirited response, and not just from me. Moose Allain @MooseAllain began a thread asking for suggestions of Twitter poets, of which there are many, of course – and suggesting that “political journalists really need to step outside their bubble”.
But I think this also highlights a major image problem for Twitter. Of course, they need to do more to clear up the cesspit of vitriol that forms a part of the platform, and which rightly gets a lot of attention.
But why is Twitter so bad at highlighting the good stuff that is out there. Twitter could sponsor an annual poetry festival, gathering Twitter poets from around the world, livestreamed via Periscope. Or how about an wards ceremony, celebrating those creating the best poems, cartoons, jokes, mini-fiction or whatever? Come on Twitter, get your act together.
Oh, and I went with ‘person’ rather than ‘wanker’ partly so as not to reinforce the negative image, but mainly in the hope they might read the limerick out on the Today programme tomorrow – let’s see!