Tweets as Gateway Drug?

First I rolled my eyes and let out a weary sigh. Then the article, “Twitterature to the Masses” from The Guardian, like a pebble in the shoe, ached for attention. I began to seriously consider how could a writer be enticed to “tweet?” Can Twitter act as gateway drug to Literature? Might we consider piquing readers’ interest with a  mystery, 140 characters or less,  leaving readers hungry for more? Could Tweets be a trail of sweet morsels luring potential readers to the text itself?


Girl meets man. Man married to monster. Monster hungry for revenge chases girl away to leave love hanging. What happens next? Read book!


Or am I just an analog girl dreaming in a digital world?

From The Guardian | Culture | Books Blog | June 24, 2009 by Ed Pilkington, “US Students hope to bring Twitterature to the Masses”:

Fans of the classics will either be delighted or appalled to learn that the New York-branch of Penguin books has commissioned a new volume that will put great works through the Twitter mangle. The volume has a working title that will make the nerve ends of purists jangle: Twitterature.

In it, the authors will squish the jewels of world literature – they mention Dante, Shakespeare, Stendhal, Joyce and JK Rowling – into 20 tweets or less – that is 20 sentences each with fewer than 140 characters.

The book is the brainchild of two 19-year-old first-year students at the University of Chicago who claim to be starting a cultural revolution from their college dormitory…Read more.



  1. I don’t quite get what they’re trying to do, but then I don’t really get Twitter. If their goal is to condense literature to tweets, it kind of defeats the purpose; however, if the purpose is to, as you nicely put it, use Twitter as a gateway drug, then more power to them. Personally, I use Facebook to post about what books I’ve just read or what films I’ve watched or what albums I’ve just listened to. I don’t write out full-blown reviews of course, but it’s interesting to get people commenting on my blurbs (i.e. some might offer their own take, or thank me for highlighting a book they might find interesting, or warning them not to bother reading). It’s rather nice to have threads like that in a fun atmosphere like a social networking site.

  2. You’re tempting me to be active on Facebook. I’d love to read some of your reviews and thoughts. Consider posting here too. We’re hungry to learn more!

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