Working Assumption

Jun 16 2009 Published by under Internet/Media, Literature

Joyce playing piano

I’m working on the assumption that Leopold Bloom in Joyce’s Ulysses was the inspiration for Twitter (if not in reality at least in theory). Read Ulysses, read the stream of consciousness rambles that Bloom spews out in that novel, and you’ll notice that his thought are short and compact yet very complex–just like twitter messages.

Tweets, as they are called, are limited to 140 characters in length. Why 140? This is the explanation at the Twitter website:

It also just so happens that 140 characters is the perfect length for sending status updates via text message. The standard text message length in most places is 160 characters per message. We reserve 20 characters for people’s names, and the other 140 are all yours!

Bloom’s thoughts seem to follow along these rules. Bloom was also really into the latest technologies of his time and would, no doubt, be a regular rambler on twitter if he were walking around Dublin circa 2009 (a regular Stephen Fry or Ashton Kutcher). So it makes sense to see Bloom as a big twitter fan.

I’ll say more about this once I go back into my copy of Ulysses and dig around for good “tweets.” Who knows–perhaps there’s an essay here.

Final thought: Molly Bloom, unlike Leopold, would HATE Twitter. She’d need her own blog.

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