I recently opened a Twitter account because I’ve been told that being on Twitter could help increase readership of my blog. I know I am late to the game. I just never saw the point of posting short blurbs. I enjoy writing. I am a writer. I don’t like limitations on my creativity, I want as many words as possible to express my profound and sometimes not so profound thoughts. I guess, however, at a certain point, one has to embrace new technologies. Hey, if my 97 year old grandfather can learn how to watch porn on an Ipad, I should be able to figure out Twitter, right?
Wrong. Twitter is the most confusing, convoluted mess of “tweets” and “retweets” and “hashtags” that messes with my already clutter-filled mind. All I know about Twitter up to this point, I have learned through watching comedy shows like 22 Minutes and Last Week Tonight. In fact, it’s only through television media that I know anything at all about the Twittersphere. Twitter is like another planet to me. People seem to be communicating, but at the same time, they are not at all. Just sound bytes. I wonder what Marshall McLuhan would have to say about Twitter? I mean, as a society, we have really regressed, communication-wise. Ever read an elementary school reader from the 19th century? The things kids read in grades primary-6 back then is much more complex than what our graduating high school students are reading today. I wonder what people in the 1800s would have thought about literature presented in 140 characters or less.
Are Tweets “literature”? I’m sure some of you perhaps raised an eyebrow, maybe even two, when I used the term in reference to Twitter. Merriam-Webster defines literature as “the production of literary work especially as an occupation” and as “the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age” and also “the body of writings on a particular subject.” If you think about these definitions, Tweets are literature. Some people seem to make a career out of twittering, the social media site is certainly creating a large body of work reflective of the current age we live in, and the particular writing subjects are organized by the “hashtags.” (I think… I’m still trying to figure the damn thing out.)
Is Twitterature good literature? Hells no, but you can bet it will be studied in the future as the English language evolves. Will it become as iconic as the works of Shakespeare? I certainly hope not. And what’s the deal with the “hashtags”? Who came up with that? Do people put tags on their hash? I thought hashish was illegal? Do drug dealers actually put the prices on their product? I don’t frequent with drug dealers so I am legitimately asking.
Here is a list of what I understand about Twitter so far.
- Tweet- a thought of 140 characters or less
- Re-tweet- when you like a thought, you share it on your own Twitter page
- Reply- I don’t know. I thought it meant you commented on a thread, but none of mine seem to show up
- Send a personal message- self-explanatory but it doesn’t seem to let me send messages
- Hashtag- topics your thought applies to
- Following- people who you think have cool tweets
- Followers- people who think your tweets are cool
So in my admittedly limited understanding of Twitter, I would say it is high school only larger. People spout off opinions without using supporting evidence, they follow and copy (retweet) the people who they think are “cool” and the whole goal seems to be to acquire followers (become the most popular kid at the school.) So basically, we are all trying to be Ferris Bueller. And there’s always at least one bully who nobody likes but everyone keeps tabs on: Donald Trump. Hey Trump, the only reason anyone follows you is because we’re all waiting to see what crazy thing you’re going to say next, but no one really likes you. Except for maybe the people who voted for you and the people who helped you rig the election. Anyone else wonder about all the accusations he made at Hillary over election rigging? One thing I know is if you want to distract from your own misdeeds a really great way to do it is to point the finger at your opponent. Worked with my brother growing up ALL THE TIME!
“Ferris Bueller.” The Washington Times. <https://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/ferris-1jpg/> November 13, 2017.
“Literature.” Meriam Webster. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literature> November 13, 2017