Arts/Literature

WordsDay: SMS and "The Emerald Espadrille"

It’s a totally new literary genre!

Well, sorta. You may have noticed that mobile is getting to be a really big deal, and you may have noticed that Them Danged Kids® are texting until their thumbs fall off. You probably didn’t realize, though, the magnitude of mobile and the SMS phenomenon. There are now over 3 billion mobile phones in the world and nearly all of them have SMS capability. Telephia estimates that revenue from premium SMS entertainment services in the US topped $1B last year. And the stuff that people are paying for – $5/month for a joke of the day (and Yo Mama joke of the day!), horoscopes, music reviews, health tips, sports, and on and on. It’s all a little hard for a guy like me to believe, but there it is.

Anyway, you have this new medium, so it was only a matter of time before it began sparking artistic innovation. One of my businesses is an SMS entertainment content company, and a couple years ago we developed something called online blitz fiction – SMS short-short stories for the text environment. There are places that have attempted to adapt and serialize non-SMS content (with not-so-great results), but to the best of our knowledge we were the first to begin building literature specifically around the form and unique demands of the 160-character context.

It’s weird, too. Because you have so little space, there has to be a hyper-emphasis on each word. Additionally, since the time lapse between one entry and the next can be a day, you don’t have the freedom to take a sentence or two off. It’s an insanely compressed form, in other words, and my surprise discovery was that SMS blitz fiction has more in common with narrative poetry than it does with traditional prose.

Today, WordsDay invites you to subscribe to “The Continuing Adventures of Hawthorne Curve, Private Dick: The Case of the Emerald Espadrille,” by your truly, the very first for-SMS story ever written. Normal messaging costs apply, but there’s no additional fee to subscribe to the story. If you’re interested, text Blitz to 47647.

Enjoy. But beware The Scot.

3 replies »

  1. Also, are you familiar with Scott Sigler? He just came out with this book, “Infected,” that’s heading into the stratosphere. He built his career with podcasts and also phone content.

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