I was reluctant at first, mostly because of the hype, and a bit because of the overwhelmingly rapid-fire social nature of it. But as I've begun using it more, I've noticed something: among the myriad of tweets about what was for lunch, and the weather, and the activities of children, pets, and neighbours, there is something interesting happening: beautiful little, 140-character bits of art.
The constraint of the structure, like sonata form, or haiku, seems to me to encourage more creativity because of the limitations of the form. Say it in 140 characters, or it doesn't get said. And gorgeous little gems are popping up all the time on my feed. They also seem to come from people who cannot seem to limit their efforts to just one form of art or craft (composers who knit, dancers who write, and a quilter on her way to teach a cake-decorating class).
And later, as I was kneading bread dough and thinking about all of this, I had a realization.
Those of us who make things often have what we make (knitting, music, baking, painting etc.) called "self-expression". I've always been uncomfortable with that, because it seems to presume that wanting to get up on stage, or make something beautiful is somehow Narcissistic, that it's about the person ("self") rather than the act ("expression"). But I see it as completely the opposite.
I believe that the best and most beautiful art & craft comes from this attitude and approach. It's not using art to express yourself, it is using your "self" to express art or craft with passion and humility: I think this is wonderful, and I want you to have some too. Selfless. Joyful. Beautiful.
It's what my friend does every day, with every fibre of her being, in glass and beads and fruit and fabric and yarn and royal icing and 140-character paintings. I think it's why her jam's so good.