First of all, for those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, here are the major lines of its uses and purpose.
According to Daniel Nations in his article what is twitter, Twitter is, “in essence, micro-blogging is for people who want a blog but don’t want to blog.” Twitter is a way to shortly express yourself (140 characters or less), to get news from your relatives, but also from people from all around the world. It can also be used in order to stay informed of the latest news in politics, science, show business and so forth. In short and in my opinion, Twitter is a mix between Facebook and the old MSN messenger.
Now that the bases of Twitter have been stated, let’s take a look at what is Twitterature!
For most people, literature can sometimes be complex to read and understand and it is perfectly normal! Not everybody is a Nathaniel Hawthorne of a William Shakespeare! In order to counter this problem, some people have decided to create short, odd and personal interpretations of the world’s greatest literature works on Twitter. Twitterature is to write something like a short summary (often less than 20 Tweets) of a classical work just as Hamlet, Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code in a way that makes the work as close as possible to the 21st century world. Actually, “in a curious way, Twitterature is just as much a celebration of the classics as it is a mockery of them.” twitterature
Here’s an example of Twitterature:
Harry Potter (1–7) by J. K. Rowling
||@NotoriousHPHello everyone from under the stairs! Aunt and Uncle threw me under here again. Gosh, life is so hard.That fat fuck Dudley stole all my food! I wish something good or at least interesting would happen to me.
OMG I’m a WIZARD! And my parents are DEAD WIZARDS! Off to magic boarding school. PEACE BITCHES!
OMG Hogwarts OMG I have two friends OMG magic OMG the Slytherins are Nazis OMG there is an EVIL WIZARD out to get me.
Snape a douche! Dumbledore a wise man (but maybe gay?). Voldemort tried to kill me! Flying broomstick! Battle over magic crack-rock!
OMG the year’s over. Time goes fast when you’re having fun. Goes slow if you have to read seven books with lots of adverbs.
Back to school! Should be a great year! I hope nothing crazy happens like last time.
No! Voledemort is trying to wreck my shit up AGAIN!! I am TIRED of these MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING CASTLE!
Back to school AGAIN! This year definitely better! A dude who tried to kill me turned out OK. Sometimes misunderstandings happen. LOL.
Oh man, big tournament at my school this year!! PSYCHED! I hope nobody dies this year, and every year as if by clockwork.
Competing in a tournament. Also: is it just me, or should they really have a tougher vetting process for Dark Arts teachers?
OMFG VOLDEMORT AGAIN. Don’t worry, I have the hang of this by now. Plus there’s a secret society out to protect me. Give up already LV.
I AM UNDERGOING A LOT OF ANGST RIGHT NOW. And this Asian girl is giving me a major hard-on. Blue balls suck. No magic potion for it either.
Don’t believe anyone who says Voldemort isn’t back AGAIN. I KNOW WHAT I SAW!
Big brawl at Ministry of Magic! Sirius is dead. Super-pissed. I just used the torture spell, didn’t I? I’m going to Azkaban now, aren’t I?
Back to school again! Boy, everything better go well this year or I’m going to eat a wand.
Hey! My friend’s sister is totally hot for me. Feels a bit dirty, but yeah baby, you like my scar, don’t you? Wanna see my wand?
SNAPE KILLED DUMBLEDORE WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF? THIS IS LIKE THE BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER EVER!!!
Sometimes this guy, Tom, keeps showing up. I don’t want him around but I don’t have the heart to tell him, because he killed my parents.
NM last tweet. Killed him. Something about a prophecy. Who cares? Last seven years have felt like same one, over and over.
As you can see, the author of this Twitterature summarized in less than 500 words J. K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books! Okay, it’s not an exhaustive, true or 100% respectful summary, but you have to admit, for those of you who have read the books, that it kind of gives the major lines of the J. K. Rowling’s work and in a much more funny way!
I believe that this example explained pretty well what compose pieces of Twitterature, but now, we must take a look at its possible use in our classrooms!
Would it be justified to make students write or even read those shorter versions of literature?
Can Twitterature be seen as real literature?
Wouldn’t Twitterature lower the students’ abilities to read and analyse correctly literature?
In my opinion, great famous pieces of literature have more than lose their attraction in high school classrooms. Students are not interested in reading complex books that have been written five hundred years ago! Students want to feel concerned about what they read, they want to feel connected to the story. How can you feel related to books that talk about wooing ladies by reciting them poems at the bottom of their windows with a violin and thousands of roses! Nobody does that anymore, everybody knows that you text the person you want to date, period and end!
Literature needs to modify itself to the 21st century constraint and that’s the reason why I believe that Twitterature has more than its place in today’s classrooms. Let’s say that secondary five students are asked to read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and have to write an analysis of the story, wouldn’t be easier for them to understand the story if they can have access to other people’s summary? I believe so!
In addition of giving extra information about literature pieces, Twitterature can also be used in writing assignments. Indeed, let’s say that secondary five students are reading The Scarlet Letter in their literature class. Their teacher asks them to write a summary of the story in less than 500 words. What do you think is going to interest them more, writing an essay on a sheet of paper or an interactive summary on Twitter? It’s clear to me that the Twitter assignment wins!
Of course Twitterature permits more dereliction than traditional writing assignments, but well supervised by teachers, it can represent a great way to interest teenagers to literature, don’t you believe?
Let’s Tweet about it!