How Twitter Changed Literature & Culture

How has Twitter changed the cultural and literary landscape aside from knowing what your friends had for lunch? For one thing, it has rescued the aphorism from our self-obsessed culture. 

What's the Latest Development?


It is only possible to have clear feelings toward Twitter if you are not on it, argue the editors of the literary magazine n+1. To tweet and re-tweet is to simultaneously involve yourself in a niche world of pedantic mediocrity and stimulating political revolution. One thing that is sure, however, is that it is not your parents' communication medium. "...Beckett wrote, in 1930, that it was every bit as illogical to expect tomorrow’s self to be gratified by today’s experience as it was to expect your hunger to vanish at the sight of your uncle eating a sandwich..." But to what extent has Twitter revolutionized literature?

What's the Big Idea?

That the Internet is a democratic and democratizing medium is perhaps banal at this point. The cheapness of publishing your work online has given writers a necessary public while the constraints of the medium, particularly if you're getting paid to write online, have created a contemporary style: "You won’t sound contemporary and for real unless it sounds like you’re writing off the top of your head. ...and soon, if not yet already, it will seem pretentious, elitist, and old-fashioned to write anything, anywhere, with patience and care." As a literary tool, Twitter has also helped revived the aphorism from our self-obsessed culture. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less