There was an article on 43folders the other day that talked about the value of constraints on creativity. The idea was that the best stuff comes from situations where you really have to stretch the intellect due to having to fit whatever you’re doing into a metaphorical box.
Kind of like when in the movies the hero must fix the spaceship with only a plasma torch, the glove from a space suit, a length of rope, and a package of bologna.
Right now my most interesting self-imposed creative constraint is the utterly useless Web 2.0 poster child, Twitter. For those not familiar with it, Twitter is what someone clever coined a “microblogging” site. That means you get to make post like any other blog only you get a grand total of 140 characters to work with.
That’s right, that brilliant piece of 156 character literature isn’t going to fit.
Now the vast majority of Twitter is basically what you might expect it to be.
“Going to work”
“Going home from work now”
“Oh crap, I’m in a bind now, if only I had a package of bologna.”
That kind of day to day stuff, to me, is mundane for a reason. It’s completely and utterly boring. I barely want to live through it much less announce it to the world. What I like about Twitter is trying squeeze something funny into a super small package. It forces you not only question ever word but every character.
But the brilliant part of the software is the character countdown number in the upper right hand corner. It just dares you to use all 140 characters:
If you happen to also be into this crazy thing you can find me at twitter.com/glammi. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go update it about wanting to find a bologna sandwich.