Before there were tweets, there were Necco Sweethearts, and now there are only a few days left to submit Necco Sweetheart suggestions - sweet tweets, if you will - that will be inscribed on many of the heart-shaped Necco candies that will be put on sale for Valentine's Day 2010.
Fans of Twitter, the popular social networking service, pride themselves on communicating in a sort of digital haiku form. Twitter text messages - or tweets to the cognoscenti - are limited to 140 characters or fewer.
But long before there were tweets, there were Necco Sweethearts, a pioneer of sorts in the short-form literary genre.
Indeed, the messages on Necco Sweethearts are so brief that they can make a tweet seem like a veritable trilogy. Twitter buffs will share their views on almost any topic, but the sentiments on Necco Sweethearts are largely confined to matters of romance.
For that reason perhaps, Necco Sweethearts have become a staple of Valentine's Day, an item sure to be found on any thoughtful Romeo's shopping list, along with a box of chocolates and a pricey nosegay.
As habitues of the candy aisle know, Necco Sweethearts, along with Necco Wafers, are made by the New England Confectionery Co., which is also known as Necco. The Revere company's portfolio also includes the Clark Bar and the Mary Jane.
The Necco company recently launched an online competition that asks the general public to submit suggestions for next year's crop of Valentine's Day Necco Sweethearts.
"Now, for the first time in the history of the iconic brand, the New England Confectionery Co. is inviting poets, texters, bloggers, and literary novices alike to create the next generation of conversation hearts that will appear in time for Valentine's Day 2010," the company said in a press release.
Presumably, the thinking here is that Twitter has schooled many folks in the art of composing concise messages, and now they're ready for an even more demanding challenge - penning pithy prose suitable for inscription on a Valentine's Day Necco Sweetheart.
More details about the competition can be found by clicking here.
But poets, texters, and bloggers better hurry. The deadline for submitting sweet tweets is May 31.
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)