Through his wit, intelligence and honest exposition Stephen Fry has become dizzyingly popular with vast sectors of the population. His website, which gathers together his newspaper columns, blogs and all other things Fry, is a deeply pleasurable way to wile away a few hours. His Twitter followers number over 1.5 million people, which, to me, seems an awful lot. That’s over 100,000 people per individual character tweeted – something physically quantifiable in his ability to crash websites just by commenting on how lovely they are, funneling something like 4,000 hits a second at fragile and helpless servers around the world. What a menace.
All this, plus a fine literary pedigree, have made him the perfect person to judge the new Hay Festival endeavor to find The Most Beautiful Tweet Ever Written. One might be dubious of such a goal, were one inclined to rail against Tweet as any sort of realistic forum, but one, on reconsideration tinged with the fear of being archaic and Out Of The Loop, might also decide that the permitted 140 characters demands a succinctness of thought (however intentional), focus of wit and utilisation of words that could easily be compared to, say, poetry.
When the shortlist and winner of the Beauteous Tweet is announced on the 6th of June, I will be quite curious to peruse their limited content, testing their wit’s brevity.