Can Twitterature Become a Literature?

In an age of electronic communications that are mostly conducted on the tiny screens of mobile phones, it is worth wondering what the future has in stock for literature, and its younger sister, print journalism. A new genre appears to be emerging, called “Twitterature.” Certain kinds of poetry, including haikus, can survive and even thrive within the constraints of 140 characters or less. One noted practitioner of the Twitterature creation is Eric Jarosinski, a former professor of German literature and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He now edits NeinQuarterly, a Twitter account that amounts to a literary review. It boasts 134,000 followers. He composes his verses primarily on his smartphone. One thing very limited space does is enhance the relevance of punctuation and each word, forced to impose itself over the universe of the other ones. It may be too early to say that this may one day become a mainstream form of literature. Yet judge it for yourself on its conciseness: “#HowToFindHappiness Think of where you last saw it. See if it’s still there. If it’s not, ask yourself why it left. If it is, ask yourself why you didn’t stay.” To alarmist souls, your worries about the extinction of books and newspapers may be premature. As a published author and columnist himself, Jarosinski says, “old media still pays.”

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