Publetariat Dispatch: Hashtagstories – Stories Written as a Sequence of Twitter Hashtags

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and digital media maven Piotr Kowalczyk introduces Hashtagstories.


It’s almost a year since I started hashtagstories – microstories written with current Twitter hashtags.

Sorry? Stories written with what? A year ago this was  weird even to  me. But it was just so inspiring to combine the world of  hashtags into a  piece of a literary fiction that I gave it a try. I also  wanted to use  it as a way to enter English writing. It was looking like  a pretty  easy job to do – just collect meaningful, emotional hashtags and   scrabble them into a story.

After a year I can tell you –  hashtagstories are not easy. They are a  hard work. I had to go through  many Twitter-based services to find the  best source of hashtag info.  Previously I was using, now it’s What the Trend.

There  are spam hashtags. There are misleading hashtags. There are  secret  abbreviations. I always have to be very careful to avoid using a  wrong  word. And the wrong word with a tag is a way worse than the  wrong word  alone.

Like many unusual projects, hashtagstories had big chances  to fail.  As the primary way to build  meaning is the order of words, there is a  danger a story can be  misinterpreted. It’s hard to decode a story when  it’s told with  nouns only. I managed to write only few stories, which   read as a sentence. One of the best ones is:

#iwish #iseeyou #inmyhood #beforethestorm

I have a warm feeling that I’ll stay  with #hashtagstory for a long  time. It’ll not be a day-to-day love.  It’ll happen in bursts. But it’s  good to write them. When I was  publishing a book at Feedbooks, Hashtagstories Vol. 1, I’ve worked out a  good, decent description of what the stories are: a literary memoir  of social media trends.

Yes, this is what they are. It’ll  take some time to find in them the  emotions of the past. It’s not gonna  take too much time, though.  Social media life is changing so fast.

Last  thing, I’m happy to share with you, that Hashtagstories Vol. 1, has  crossed 1,000 downloads. Thank you all  for showing interest and sharing #hashtagstory with your Twitter  friends.

Second volume is coming soon.


This is a reprint from Piotr Kowalczyk‘s Password Incorrect.

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