From sonnet to haiku: a farewell to Meshfire
”O Captain! My CAPTAIN!”
You know the ending of Dead Poets Society, right?
Mr Keating has been fired, and he leaves the classroom with his possessions under his arm. Suddenly the boys, one by one, stand up on their desks (a reference to Mr Keating’s point about changing your perspective) and yell “O Captain! My Captain!” — a quote from Whitman.
This’s one of the most powerful scenes I know in cinema history; hell, it’s one of the most powerfully emotional experience I’ve had in my life.
Today I’m here to stand on my desk and yell ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ to an amazing team and an amazing product: Meshfire.
So long, and thanks for all the tweets!
It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t use a certain level of wackiness here. And it wouldn’t be fitting, since my whole affair with Meshfire started with just exactly that.
Meshfire was — and still is, until the end of September — a tool to manage Twitter communities with the help of an AI agent called Ember.
I mean, the branding alone would’ve sold it to me. But what really happened is that I was admitted into a community of firestarters (that’s what we call ourselves) who welcomed me and… well, the rest is history.
I don’t want to linger in the past for long. It was a lot I received from the Meshfire team, the community of firestarters, well beyond the connections I made while using Meshfire.
It all started in August 2014, and now it ends (in a way) in September 2017. Talk about a fitting metaphor! Let me explain:
From iambic pentameter…
Way back when, a little over three years ago, I wrote a sonnet, iambic pentameter and all:
If we to tweet, who will help clear the noise?
Is there a path to find that sets us free?
As sweet as air, as graced as women’s poise
As bright as light, and smart to know our need?
So long we searched, so long we tried to find,
Like love itself: elusive prize to claim;
Many have tried, but few could walk the line,
What should be fun is now in stress and shame.
But here’s this girl, all fired up to play,
Our tweets are her music, she’s here to dance;
Killing boredom, with poise and ease she came,
No goal’s too huge, no “post and take a chance”.
Ember, darling, we welcome Thee to stay,
Help us make this crazy world of ours great!
It was summer, I was just overflowing with emotions about my new(ish) job, and something inside me just “clicked”.
An iambic pentameter’s rhythm is like a heartbeat: da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. It’s an often said explanation why Shakespeare’s sonnets are so lovingly perfect in their craft: he simply listened to his own heartbeat and put it on paper. Whether that’s true or not — it’s my favorite interpretation of why a good sonnet is so beautifully perfect.
Three years have passed, however, and — as in any relationship — my love has tempered, refined, and focused. It didn’t lessen, not a single bit. The tool the Meshfire team created has been my default solution for managing Twitter, whether it was growing awareness from zero to a hundred thousand in a week, or doing research over a longer period of time. But more than practicality, the value I received from and through Meshfire is too much to list it all.
Meshfire has opened the world for me. The community has been the source of the first people in my life I know and regularly interact with but haven’t met physically. Meshfire has put me on the map. Ever since writing that first “wacky review” I’ve been blessed to pursue my interests, dig deep into blogging and other content creation; and that first little blog post was where I first felt and understood that I can do this and I should do this.
And, last but not least, Meshfire gave me a voice. Finding my own voice in that wacky article was where it all came together for me. Where I realized I can double down on my strengths and there is an audience out there who will find what I create and appreciate it.
… to seventeen syllables
Now, to say farewell to Meshfire in a proper way, I thought the only fitting way to do so is in a poem, bookending the period we’ve spent together; and the only fitting form, I believe, is a haiku.
A haiku is a mere seventeen syllables, but what a powerful punch that shortness carries! A haiku isn’t a story (but can hold one, or even more than one) but a feeling. A haiku’s purpose, as it was explained to me in the Haiku Handbook and what I’ll paraphrase here, because I no longer have the book with me, is to invoke the same feelings in the reader that the poet felt. A haiku is a shared experience. It’s tiny, but it’s merely a gate that teleports the reader, through space and time, to the exact place and moment of when it was conceived. That’s quite the power.
A haiku is perfect for this occasion because while I feel enormously sad, I cherish — beyond words — what Meshfire has meant to me for the last three years. Things happen and the world keeps spinning; and I’ll always have those memories, I’ll always have those connections with all those people. And I’ll always have the experience to help me in my professional life, albeit somewhat slower and more awkwardly without the aid of Meshfire.
A haiku’s integral part, and indeed one of its most powerful device, is the inclusion of a season through a picture. And this being fall I think there no more fitting timing for this.
I hope all these emotions I wrote about here, long as they are, are appropriately reflected through these three lines, and properly translated into seventeen syllables.
With that, here’s my haiku for Meshfire and about Meshfire.
Receding chirps cast
long shadows. Dimming fire —
sparks. Leaves on the wind.
Thank you. For everything. ❤️
Now with 100% more audio!
Poems are meant to be read out loud. Perhaps not by me, per se, although this is the third day and I think the podcast is orders of magnitude better than it was just two days ago.
003: A farewell to Meshfire
Blog post: http://bit.ly/2hlQPJ4 When I heard the news that Meshfire, my favorite Twitter community management platform…
Hope you enjoy it!
Write, document, repeat. I’m doing this new thing: it’s an experiment, mixing different platforms and media to tell the different stories of a working writer: the good, bad, ugly, mundane and spectacular. Documenting my life, initially for a year, and see what happens. Journaling privately has been such a blast and a useful foundation to become more consistent, and I thought I’d try my hand at making certain stories public.
It’s really about going all in: trying out a bunch of stuff, different media — text, images, video, and see what shakes out. I’d love to know what you think: get in touch with me on social media, and tell me what you like/don’t like.
I’m also creating a daily podcast, to which you can subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud, YouTube, or Spreaker. It’s an extension of what I write about here on the blog, and although it’s raw and rough and kind of “bad”, I’m enjoying the hell out of it, and it’s getting better by the day.
Thank you! I really appreciate you being here.