Great literature to be ‘Twittered’

Jane Austen only allowed 140 characters

Plans are believed to be at an advanced stage for great works of literature to be published on Twitter in a ‘twittered’ form. Sources inside the company say classic books, plays and poems are being pared to the minimum for distribution as ‘tweets’ as part of a new LitTwit service. The service is based on the premise that people no longer have the time these days for reading page after page of long words, particularly when they are so busy on Twitter.

Twitter versions of a few classics have already been leaked; Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ now goes; “I’m wandering; Can see loads of daffs.” Whereas Pride and Prejudice has been abridged to “Mr D. has huge pad, He’s proposed, have accepted.”
Some works cannot be pared down to just 140 characters however, and Hamlet requires the reader to stick with for several ‘Tweets’; “At mum’s wedding, food’s cold”, “Have seen ghost, has set me thinking”, “Watching a play, seems familiar”, “Disturbing levels of knife crime”, “Ophie’s topped herself”, “Must go, looks like might be a fight”

Accusations of dumbing down have been strongly refuted by a Twitter spokeswoman: ‘Twitterers often have no time to read books but this should not be allowed to prevent them from being able to pass themselves off as having more than just a superficial cultural education. On the contrary, the LitTwit service will give them a broad understanding of the content of classic works, certainly enough to be able to bluff when occasion demands. We also anticipate that LitTwit will be of use to students sitting English GCSE and A level exams, provided they can keep their mobiles hidden from the invigilators.’

Some commentators are however sceptical that Twitter really does plan to launch this service. Says one industry observer: “Personally I think this is a story dreamt up by Twitter’s PR company as a standby, ready to be rushed to the newsrooms of the world in case the supply of Twitter news stories threatens to dry up. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening any time soon’.

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Posted: Apr 12th, 2009 by

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