Pondering Poetry: Using Facebook to Craft Poems (and Other Writing)

facebookHello.  My name is Katherine and I am a social media Luddite. 

I barely use Facebook, didn’t understand or have a Twitter account until the Writer’s Digest October Platform Challenge got me connecting, and just tried Google+ for the first time today.

So how can I write a post that utilizes Facebook?  Moreover, Facebook and poetry don’t seem like two entities that go together – at least not from the perspective of using Facebook to write poetry. So what gives?

Simple.  I’m writing this post because I am a fan of taking advantage of whatever works to generate creativity and get poems (or fiction or any writing ideas) out of the ether and onto the page.  And I promise you – if you fully execute this technique, you will end up with a poem.  Or character.  Or beginning of a story… you get the picture.

So what is this crazy Facebook writing technique?  

It’s fun, it’s easy, and you can do it even if you don’t have a Facebook account.  Trust me.

First, scroll through your list of FB friends until you come across names from your childhood of people you haven’t really kept up with over the years.  If you don’t have any FB friends that reach back that far, settle for FB friends that you are merely acquaintances with in real life – the point is to find people you know, but people you don’t know well. You want to be surprised.

Second, visit the pages of these FB friends and look at their most recent post.  Ideally, the first page you visit is the one you’ll use, but if it really doesn’t work move down the list.

Third, using whatever this person posted as your inspiration, brainstorm words and phrases that immediately come to mind.  Try to incorporate sensory language if possible, but stay true to whatever pops into your head.

Fourth, write a poem inspired by the FB friend’s post and your brainstormed list.  It can be a poem in any form or style.

If you’re not on Facebook, you can search old emails, greeting cards and letters, or use another social media source (like Twitter or Google+) to accomplish the same result.

I first thought of this technique when I randomly clicked on the Facebook page of a childhood friend with whom I had not had any contact other than to accept her Friend request years ago.  I was shocked and saddened to learn that she had just lost her father.  Her most recent post happened to be picture from her childhood of her at about preschool age sitting on her dad’s lap.  They were reading a book together, and the caption read, “Missing my dad today.”  The photo was grainy and the clothes were standard late seventies/early eighties plaid.  Her dad was sporting some seriously impressive sideburns, and my friend’s cheeks were bright red, the way kids’ cheeks get after playing outside in the snow.

I was overcome with emotion and wonder, so I started writing down ideas and words that popped into my head as I gazed at the picture.  And those words evolved into a poem.

If you give it a try, let me know!  I’d love to hear if it works for you.  And if you have other Facebook-inspired writing ideas, please share!

~Katherine

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. I really like this idea, not only for poems, but also for stories. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Kat says:

      Yes! I think it can work well for different genres!

      Like

  2. Really love this idea. On occasion, I will look at the profiles of people I knew from childhood and try to piece together their life from when I last saw them.

    It’s different than looking at a stranger, bc at some point in life you knew this person, which makes it all the more interesting.
    Anyway, sorry about babbling on. Just think it’s a cool idea 🙂

    Like

  3. miladyronel says:

    Thanks for sharing. I like this idea; will try it out when I need inspiration.

    Like

  4. vhosking says:

    You know there are hundreds of poetry pages on Facebook.

    Like

    1. Kat says:

      Yep, absolutely! Another resource to investigate! 🙂

      Like

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