Social Media

HashFiction – FlashFiction written with hashtags

Hashtags are usually used for content categorisation – they make content searchable. Sometimes they are also used to perform other roles, for example, highlighting and stylistic. I suggest we look at them as a tool for creating stories. Why don’t we call these stories HashFiction? 

Hashtags such as #grrr, #EpicFail, #toomuchfaketan or #yesiknow might not be the best tools to organise content on social media. They are too general. Possibly most of the hashtags that are in use today either Twitter or Instagram have this problem. There is no value, from the search perspective, for the content to be categorised under these hashtags. But is this a problem? Instead of focusing on categorising function, let’s explore the possibility of writing short stories (FlashFiction) using these hashtags. 

FlashFiction

The idea behind Flashfiction is to condense a story into the fewest words possible. At the same time, the story should have a plot and ideally a twist or surprise at the end. Depending on the length Flash Fiction could have many different names. It usually has a maximum of 1000 words but there are many different types – all with different maximum lengths: Sudden fiction will have less than 750 words, Microfiction, also known as Drabble (between 300-100 words), Minisaga, also known as Dribble, (50 words) or Twitterature (280-characters). Possibly the shortest is the Six-word story. There are also other types of FlashFiction known as microstories, short-shorts, short short stories, very short stories, postcard fiction or nanofiction with their maximum lengths between 1000 and 6 words. 

HashFiction

I suggest adding a new type of FlashFiction – HashFiction. It is mostly used on social media, especially on platforms that support hashtags, such as Twitter. A lot of Twitter users do not even realise, that they sometimes create short stories using hashtags only. Some of these stories could consist of a single hashtag: 

“#WorkingOnOrientationVideoInHeaven” 

Other could consist of two or more hashtags: 

“#HiMom #ThingsNotToSayInBed”,

“#RuinHolidayIn4Hahstags: #InstaSun #InstaBoat #HoldOn #TooLate” 

or 

“#IRefusedMyWhiteHouseInvite #IdontSpeakRussian”

In short, HashFiction happens when Hashtags are used to create (Flash)fiction.

Short Stories

A Romantic morning

Saturday morning. 8am. She wakes up and goes straight to the kitchen. The washing machine is already full. She presses the button and the entire room is filled with the sound. Instant coffee. We sit at the table opposite each other. I can’t hear anything else than the washing machine. It’s so disturbing. She loves it. It relaxes her. Halfway through the coffee she suddenly stands up and starts spraying the table with some cleaning liquid. She asks me to move my coffee. Then she starts sweeping the floor and complaining that our nanny should have done it last night.

Short Stories

When I was older

You can’t have it! Children are not allowed to drink wine! – the woman says to her two years old daughter who is trying to drink wine from her glass.

They do! I used to drink it when I was older! – the child replies.

That’s interesting – the woman investigates – What else you used to do WHEN YOU WERE OLDER?

I used to drink beer! – the child replies – with my future dad.

Short Stories

Obsessive measurement

He started recording his sleeping patterns at school at the age of 15. Then he was calculating the moving average of his grades. This was followed by the number of cigarettes he smoked, number of drinks, minutes he spent on the phone, times he had sex and so on. Then smartphones era started and he started tracking his location, daily steps, running times etc. You name it – he was tracking it. Now in his 40s, he is still tracking everything obsessively. This includes tracking the hours he spends on tracking. Patterns. I see patterns everywhere – he says. 

Short Stories

An American in Japan

Hotel check-in in Takayama.

“Would you like to join one of our short courses?”

“Sounds interesting. What do you recommend?”

“Get black belt in karate in a week.”

“Is that even possible?”

“Are you American, Sir?”

“No. I’m from London.”

“Oh. I’m so sorry. In that case, I recommend our selection of books.”

Short Stories

Bar in Hiroshima

“We don’t get too many people from Poland in Hiroshima.”

“Here’s your chance to meet one. How come you speak such good English.”

“Prison education in Japan is good.”

“What was it for?”

“Some petty crimes. Would you like a drink?”

“Why not. What’s life like in Hiroshima? Do you still think about the bomb?”

“Yes. We thank god for it!”

“Are you drunk already?”

“The alternative was to surround to the Soviets. Look at Poland after the war. You were ‘freed’ by the Soviets. It was much better to get these two bombs than the Russians for 4 decades.”

Short Stories

Undercover Search

“I got drunk last night and had unprotected sex with a prostitute. Nana Street in Bangkok has its own rights. It’s impossible to say no after a few beers. I now need to get tested. Can you help me to find the HIV clinic?”

“Use Search on your phone.”

“I’m too scared to do it. The minute I type that into the search box, it’s like telling the world, or at least 10 thousand companies, that I had unprotected sex and potentially HIV. They’ll start showing me condom adverts. I need to go undercover with this search. Will you help?”

Short Stories

Guided tour of Saramago’s house

No flash photography allowed. Time start: Study. Press 2 on your device. Saramago wrote here. Let’s read the passage from his book. Any volunteers? Next. Saramago’s living room. He rested here. This painting is about The Stone Raft – Saramago’s book about the Iberian Peninsula separating from Europe. Kind of Brexit scenario. Have a look at his bedroom. Press 4 to learn more. Saramago died here peacefully surrounded by loved ones. Let’s go to the kitchen. Coffee anyone? Then his garden. He loved his olive tree. Finally his library. 15 thousands of books sorted by author’s nationality and gender. Goodbye. Thanks.

Short Stories

Difficult question

I know Lanzarote island well. I’ve been here before, mum. On my own. I remember these houses and mountains. I was picking fruit and veg – avocado, beans and cabbage. I was crying and no one came to help. I was completely on my own. I walked here from London on my own feet. Mum and dad stayed in London. I was on my own. I’m now two and a half years old and I can clearly remember it. Why did you leave me here on my own, mum? I was so little back then. And I was crying.