Walter Rhett

Walter Rhett, Writer

In Arts, History, Living, SC on March 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The 2 interviews below feature Walter Rhett, the founder, publisher, editor, and writer of Southern Perlo, the South’s most successful review of shovel ready ideas.

The Shorty Interview
with Walter Rhett, Writer

In the recent Shorty Awards, called Twitter’s Oscars, Rhett was the first place Shorty Award leader in Southern History and Blog. Below is his Shorty Award interview.

 What are six things you could never do without? Sweet Potatoes, baked

and hot; good thoughts, improved by memory; hope, love, mercy, and faith, given by eternity.

How do you use Twitter in your professional life? Manage and accelerate stories, ideas, and views.

What’s your favorite Twitter app?
Kanaso, allows unlimited characters, great wingbats, modified RTs. Versatile! Paper li – twitter news web dailies. Great sources!

Twitter or Facebook?
Tweets, all the way, baby!!!

What was the funniest trend you’ve seen?
Whatever it was, a new, more outrageous trend will come tomorrow!

What feature should Twitter add?
The ability to op out of sites they recommend! The ability to link multiple accounts.

Who do you wish had a Twitter feed but doesn’t?
Many of my good friends!

Is there someone you want to follow you who doesn’t already? If so, who? One never wishes and dreams and tells to titillate! NYB!

Have you ever unfollowed someone? Who and why?
Yes! For being press releases w/o new content or views.

Why should we vote for you?
I engage; I offer cutting edge content in southern history; I support my followers & others, I look at issues deeply & globaly, I write well.

Terms you wish would start trending on Twitter right now?
#peace. #faith. #mercy. The gifts that belong to us all that we can share.

What’s the most interesting connection you’ve made through Twitter?
To leading news reporters. (I prefer not to mention names.)

Hashtag you created that you wish everyone used?
#perlo for the American subsistance found in every life and story.

How do you make your tweets unique?
Fresh insights, good stories, hot tips, personal support, caring tone, honest questions.

What inspires you to tweet?
Living; the lives of others. The global human spirit. Every tweet tells of a heart, in joy or distress.

Ever get called out for tweeting too much?
In the beginning!

140 characters of advice for a new user?
Be silent. Listen to what others have to say. Find your community. Change and grow.

How long can you go without a tweet?
Weeks, if I’m deep into a project. But I feel guilty.

How do you imagine Twitter changing?
Great platform and search options.

Who do you admire most for his or her use of Twitter?
Soledad O’Brien, her amazing humanness; Cory Booker, an inspirational mayor who combines new and old.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions of Twitter?
It only duplicates FB. Shorter version. That it has no features.

Why should people follow you?
They find their own reasons; it’s presumptive of me to suggest.

Can you name some one-of-a-kind Twitter accounts that you follow?
NepalTV, who will often provide ground level commentary upon reply.

How do you decide what to tweet?  
Posts that travel the world, touch its people, that find and share its stories, old and new, preserve its love, and recall its fear, greenly and cheaply.

Why’d you start tweeting?
The posts reflect interests, are easy to share and offer a means of personal support and contact.

Has Twitter changed your life? If yes, how?
Yes. Greater confidence, greater satisfaction, new friends, renewed faith in spirit and social action.

What do you wish people would do more of on Twitter?
I write history because its truth and honesty gives my writing intimacy and authority. I wish people shared more local history.

How will the world change in the next year?
I don’t have a crystal ball. I hope for improved water and health among the world’s poor.

What are some big Twitter faux pas? 
Sales pitches; too many lists and bests; bad research; inaccurate facts; pushing ideologies, name calling, cursing.

What will the world be like 10 years from now?
I love living in the moment.

Walter Rhett has been writing since the fourth grade and has a variety of awards and achievements under his belt: He first published poetry in Essence and a Paris journal, Presence Africane.

Then he switched to nonfiction, winning a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University’s summer writers’ workshop in 1986. He can be contacted at for information regarding readings and signings. He also does tours.



Q: What’s your identity as a writer? Where do you find inspiration?

A: I react strongly to stories. I write about epic memories. I’m a Perlo writer — perlo is a Charleston rice dish made with local bounty. Perlo’s spice is history. I write history because the debate is settled and the facts are not disputed — unless you are talking about the Civil War. I write nonfiction because its truth and honesty give my writing voice intimacy and authority.

Q: Who are your major influences?

A: Frank Yerby, a wildly popular Georgia novelist from the mid-20th century who lived in Spain and sold 30 million books. Florida’s Zora Neale Hurston — she had absolutely the best ear among Southern writers. Poet Gwendolyn Brooks for her elegance. Local jazz writer Jack McCray for his swing. New York Times columnist Gail Collins — I actually scream and cheer at her lines.

Q: What advice would you give to local writers?

A: Practice craft. Find your voice and gain a sense of discovery and authority.

Q: When and how often do you write?

A: I write daily, usually posting in the top 100 online markets. Using standard metrics, my weekly audience averages 100,000 readers. New York Times Nobel and Pulitzer winning columnists frequently single out my work. Times columns feature and promote comment essays. The writers and editors highlight the exceptional essays and rank readers’ recommendations. I’m usually there.

I post my Southern Perlo blog ( weekly in 35 mid- and major U.S. newspaper markets: Savannah; Montgomery, Ala.; Des Moines, Iowa; and San Francisco, where the online editor invited me to post on their political page. I publish Southern Perlo on its own site with beautiful graphics and photos. I also publish three online news dailies and update a news stream and a unique Lowcountry history stream on twitter ( I love photographs; Perlo and my twitter streams feature many of them.

Q: What’s in store for the future?I just finished my new paperback, “Butter My Biscuit,” a collection focused on Southern wit and storytelling. It’s available for the holidays.

To stir the pot, here’s a brief passage:
“But my mind always goes back to Ms. Lucy’s lunch. There are days when the single thought of a bite of her breads is enough to sustain me through the crush of a world that has left me starved for so much.”


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