If you know me, you know I love color-codeing, and that’s even an understatement.  I found this picture online and enjoyed it so much that it’s the background on my computer as well as the headline of my blog.

In an attempt to create a similar picture, I took to color-codeing my own bookshelf at home.  Unfortunately, I don’t have quite as many books (or colorful books) as I would have liked, but I’m sure there will be a day where I can create my color-coded masterpiece.  For now, here’s a glimpse of my attempt and here is a link to 18 other beautifully executed bookshelves.

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the canonization of media platforming

In a world where Borders has officially gone bankrupt and I-pads are more common than an old, worn, library book, it would be utterly unrealistic not to recognize the increasingly prominent and somewhat effective shift that print culture has endured over the past decade.  At the heart of this shift is the modern phenomenon of accessibility; we all want a piece of it and procuring this change from static to digital allows everyone the opportunity to be a part of it.  From web based literary outlets to personal opinion blogs and YouTube to Facebook, the digital arena has shaped a new literary canon focused on accessibility, the incorporation of various human senses, and experimenting with the long-time traditional relationship between artist and reader.  Within this new digital canon, once purely static texts morph into sounds, interaction, and visual images, allowing for a new kind of categorization within the digital world.  Because of the expanding digital genres present on the internet, each genre possesses a specific lexicon and appeals to a certain kind of reader, which is the basis for the creation of the categorization and understanding of literature turn digital media.

There is no denying that print culture has undergone a tremendous change in the past decade as digital literature culture has had a significant impact on traditional literature culture.  While this change acts as more of a shift from static to digital, local consumer market to mass online shopping venues, and the ability to watch/hear a poem being read as opposed to reading it oneself, the shift itself has brought about a new canonization in literature: digital literature.  Accessibility has allowed artists, publishers, writers, and readers alike to connect in ways previously not possible by allocating the digital as a sphere for literary culture.  Many believe this notion of accessibility has damaged literary culture, as it stands available to everyone and anyone with access to a computer, but instead it has broadened textual traditions.  The “Classics” have not been lost; they have been made available to an entirely new audience present in the digital space through the convenience of the internet and incorporation of modernity in traditional literature culture.

Categorizing the digital literary canon presents a challenge due to the fluidity that the internet provides.  Because there is no one way to categorize a web page or blog, an aura of uncertainty follows the canonization of the digital culture as it is still in a conceptual stage.  Various varieties of digital media permit for categorization though the different uses that each platform designates its purpose.  Through the understanding of literary outlets, blogs, video, and social networking, four broad genres are acknowledged in order to understand each platforms intention.  Unlike a blog, outlets make literary works and texts available to the public through the digital space.  Featured writers share their work, which allows their peers, critics, and the public to read, assess and evaluate the art they have created.  Outlets such as Shadowbox, AboutAWord and the Electronic Literature Directory share the work of upcoming or unfamiliar artists as they have taken a shift from the tradition and institutionalized process of print to the more fluid culture of the digital.  Literary blogs thrive off a modification of authority, seeming more personal, reflexive, and opinion based.  It can be questioned whether blogging is really considered a text because it resembles personal attitudes on specific literary pieces (for example, Maud Newton even admits to “ranting” on her blog) as opposed to the literary pieces themselves, but just as an op-ed piece in The New York Times, there is such thing as opinion as text.

The phenomenon of YouTube encompasses the categorization of “video,” opening new doors to the canonization of digital literature.  Through the creation of e-poetry, digital poetry and viral literature, the establishment of literature written and read on a computer comes to life.  While the genre of viral literature ranges from video poetry to typography and the engagement of sight and sound, novel, innovative texts come to life as interactive literature.  Jason Nelson, an e-poetry artist, produces work that is not only written on a computer, but can only be read on a computer as it resembles a chaotic video game full of trap doors.  Viral literature such as Sylvia Plath reading her poem “Daddy” provides a different take on the text because it allows the reader to determine the way they want to read and interact with the text, making it a multimedia experience that one could have only previously experienced by going to see Ms. Plath read in person.  The integration of literature of sight and sound, interactive gaming, and the production of text meant to be read on a computer secures the shift from traditional to digital literary culture, not as once was, but is now integrated into every aspect of the literary world.

The desire for accessibility also procures the need for constant communication, providing a niche genre for social networking media.  It not only allows, but also demands its users to connect, share, and critique in real time as it is a communication-based platform.  Publishing houses can easily connect to their authors, authors can connect with one another, and readers can connect with their favorite authors.  Instead of writing and addressing a letter to an artist asking why she chose to conclude the book in a certain fashion, both Facebook and twitter allow for informal, two-sided communication where both author and readership can connect and stay connected with one another.

A shift has taken place from traditional literature culture to the digital realm as it recognizes a new digital canon.  As Shakespeare and John Milton are still considered part of literary history, the beginning and livelihood of truly great literature, a new kind of literary history has been composed.  Artist such as Christian Bok, a computer sound poet from Canada, have discovered a new class of great literature by way of this new digital platform, expanding the boarders of traditional literature into something so original and innovative he will surely be recognized as digital literature history and the creation of the new digital canon.  Through the various genres of media platforming, literature has come to life, shifting from static text on a page to intricate sounds and typographic images as modern literary culture at its finest.

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youtube textualities

Serving as a viral open communication between both producer and consumer, YouTube’s goal has shifted from that of a digital sharing community to serving as a cultural text that incorporates humor, literature, advertising, self-reflection, and video art.  The differentiating array of available videos serves as a representation and therefore commentary of culture itself.  YouTube serves no one specific kind of viewer, in fact, it provides a digital platform where the idea of a genre is somewhat lost, choosing to categorize content based on popularity, novelty, and likeability.  Setting the stage for a dynamic and therefore unlimited community of video footage, YouTube becomes a representation of culture in itself and serves as somewhat of an archive of the times.

A video can serve many different purposes as it’s meaning often shifts between the producer’s original idea and the viewers initial thought.  Using YouTube as a platform to share said videos creates a definitive way to represent culture as there isn’t necessarily  an application process to become part of the YouTube community.  People post videos because they find them interesting, relevant, or want to create a public space out of a private one, which is essentially where video as a representation of culture is born.  Because the viral site offers commentary both by video and text, it shares what’s going on right now.  It offers opinions as to how people are feeling about a particular subject or cultural phenomenon whether that be high or low culture.  Videos of cute cuddly kittens are just as popular as a speech by President Obama and sexually offensive commercials gain just as much viewership as a music video by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (if not more).  Regardless of the title of high or low culture, newly emerging or long time established, YouTube offers an arena where culture is represented as popularity turn viewership.

YouTube, similar to many other digital spaces, has helped to secure the shift of “going viral” from an instance in cultural commentary to an established state of cultural being.  If you want something to be seen, heard, shared, or recognized in a relevant and timely manner, occupying a viral space is the best way to ensure whatever statement trying to be made is actually heard.  This fast track to so-called “digital fame” is so accurate, brands such as Axe have taken advantage of the free space to share some humor TV producers found too vulgar.  Assessing the digital platform in this sense, it can be questioned whether culture as low as this should share in being a cultural commentary at all.  Likewise, being that the viral space can now been deemed a state of cultural being, to put a filter on the phenomenon wouldn’t necessarily be an honest observation of our culture at its finest.

Making a shift from social commentary to literature, YouTube offers up its stage to both genres equally.  With its ability to combine so many ordinary elements, making them distinctive and unique in an innovative way, the digital collection of cinematography turn social commentary has evolved the emergence of what it means to be “visual,” namely visual literature.  At first thought, the idea of visual literature seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron, begging the question: how can literature be visual?  Obviously we read a text, therefore it is visual, but as the viral trend seems to bleed into an apparent state of being, the idea of “text on a page” morphs into “text on a screen”.

 1.     Viral “Reading”

The concept of viral reading, born from text on a screen, made its way to YouTube early on, before the birth of combining graphics, text, sound, and motion.  A video compiled by a YouTube subscriber incorporating her own simple graphics and the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” written by W.C. Williams, depicts the marriage between digital video and literature in somewhat of a basic form, all while creating a sense of “readership” throughout the video.  As written words appear on the screen, they do so in a right to left fashion, each letter appearing sequentially to form an entire word, mimicking the experience of actually reading a text.  The first minute of the video focuses on the poem itself, finally morphing into a video viewing experience and making the shift from reading to watching.

It was this particular video that connected digital and literary to create something of a new reading/watching experience.  Because of its emphasis on the text and the simulation of experiencing what it actually feels like to read a text, I found the relationship between digital and literary to be stronger than my previous notion that digital was in fact solely digital and literature was found on a static page.

2.     Self and Cultural Reflexivity

Known for its video component to the idea of cultural and social commentary, YouTube defines itself as “a place to discover, watch, upload, and share videos,” providing an outlet essentially for both self and cultural reflection.  An unlimited number of digitally produced content finds itself at the hands of Internet users, which basically means, well everyone.  Maintaining its sense of cultural reflection and commentary, YouTube provides seven most commonly searched or recently popular categories to choose from: music, movies, videos, comedy, Justin Beiber, sports, and Eminem.    Horrifyingly enough, these seven choices simplify our culture as it has progressed through time.  No doubt, they would have been somewhat different (or not even present) four years ago before the defining era of Justin Beiber and apparently Eminem.

Challenging and deconstructing the binary between private and public, YouTube thrives
and monopolizes on its ability to present once private material publically.  While we would all like to think that our uploaded videos with us singing our favorite song are going to be a public sensation, often times they remain in our private sphere though they are shared in a public space.  For those of us who have gotten lucky in catching our dog after eating a pot brownie or our kitten who falls asleep in random places on video, private moments become publically shared material.  A dynamic is created between personal and public and what once was a self-reflection or anecdotal recording essentially becomes cultural commentary based on popularity and viewership.  If people find the video relevant, it will be watched, shared, discussed, and might even end up on the morning news (only if you’re really lucky).  It is in this instance that “going viral” proves to be an established state of being, as it is so imbedded in our everyday culture that even our local broadcasters want to add to the cultural commentary surrounding new born panda bears.

3.     Advertising + Literature

While advertising is essentially never categorized as literature, a recent Fage Greek Yogurt commercial proves otherwise, pairing beautifully digitalized graphics, a poem by Brian Tierney, and a product in need of a good advertisement to boost sales shown both on YouTube and TV as a way to blur the lines between art, literature, and advertising itself.  The use of Tierney’s poem “Plain” (read by Willem Dafoe) in the ad creates a simplistic, elegant, and aesthetically pleasing rendering of the word “plain” to describe yogurt, which is, incredibly plain.  Though Fage is one of the few to incorporate such a beautifully written literary work of art to accompany the selling of a product so flawlessly, the brands decision to place the ad on YouTube certainly isn’t one of the first.

While many, if not most, commercials can now be found on YouTube, Johnson and Johnson Company was one of the first to utilize the digital space as the main distributor of both their men’s Axe body wash and the defining humor found in the advertisement
itself.  With the intention of running the advertisement on young adult geared channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and several others, network producers turned the Axe “Balls” campaign down due to crude humor and vulgar conceptualization.  Recognizing YouTube as a platform for viral distribution, the Axe campaign appeared on the digital side, rendering millions of hits and a noticeably drastic increase in product sales.  While the Axe story is somewhat humorous and interesting, it cements YouTube as a cultural tool for not only networking, but shared information turn cultural texts of the 21st century.

4.     Literature as Sound

Though literature as sound is somewhat self-explanatory and incredibly commonly found on Youtube, it still proves to be the most expected and therefore searched means of finding literature on the digital space.  Videos that vary from poetry readings, class lectures, and auditory artists such as Christian Wok (mentioned in my last post) display literature through the use of voice and sound.  After making my own assessment of literature found on YouTube through the hundreds if not thousands of videos of people reading poetry to an audience, I concluded literary text as sound to be the most common form of literature found on the viral platform.  Unfortunately, I also found it to be the most predictable and therefore, not as culturally unique as the other videos found, but in the end, I realized that I was wrong.  Though many of the videos would not be considered culturally unique or these videos actually demonstrate literary text as both visual and cultural text.

Because of the drastic shift from static text on a page to digital literature, it would only make sense to provide a platform able to incorporate literary genres we once only knew as text and turn them into a cultural experience through video.  Choosing to hear Sylvia Plath read her emotionally heart-wrenching poem “Daddy” allows for an incredibly different interaction with literature than maybe choosing to read the poem by oneself.  Experiencing her voice, tone, momentary pauses, and thick dialect creates an experience through literature that includes an auditory sensation by way of YouTube.

5.     Cinematography + Typography = Literature

As I stated in my most recent previous post, I accounted for the various ways literary artists use both typography and cinematography in addition to literature in order to create a viewing experience that handles literary texts in a sensory fashion.  Being able to see and hear literary texts through the movement of digital effects, camera angles, and vibrant colors completely changes what it means to “read” the text.  You’re not longer only reading with your eyes, but with your ears as well.

My last post featured the above video by Hugo Ball called “Seahorses and Flying Fish,” which blends harmonic and pleasing music, soft art, and poetry to heighten the textual version of a poem to one that now feels right at home in the digital world.

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8. LitTube

While YouTube is often thought of the last place one would venture to gain insight on the literary world, it is this unique media platform that has created an entirely new literary medium.  Transforming static, written texts found only on paper into dynamic moving images is not only ground breaking in terms of novels, short stories, and poems alike, it also revolutionizes the media platform itself, blurring the lines between literature and video art.

Unfortunately this incredible groundbreaking revolution isn’t as easily found as it is innovative due to its lack of recognition and defined position in the literary world.  With the intention of finding several examples of digital poetry, I began my quest with the search button.  Naturally I typed in “poetry” and then “digital poetry” to be met with mediocre poetry readings and while they proved to be YouTube’s most commonly viewed videos filed under both poetry and digital poetry, they completely lacked the talent I intended to find.  Thinking back to a previous class where we had discussed an interesting poet whose poetry contained only vowels and sounds, I went searching for his name, which is where my search for unique digital poets really took off.

Canadian born poet Christian Bok composes poems by strictly using vowels and sounds structured by unique lip movements and fluctuations in his voice.  Because there are no recognizable words present in his art, he often situates his readings by giving a background to the piece or referencing the title of the poem being read.  The video below features Bok reading an excerpt from his poem “The Cyborg Opera,” which is not only unique in terms of traditional poetry by digital poetry as well.  As many digital artists use digital media platforms such as YouTube to feature aesthetically pleasing images in addition to the poem itself, Bok chooses to focus primarily on sound itself.

What can be considered an afternoon of entertainment for some and the procrastination tool of a lifetime for others, YouTube’s “Suggestions” side panel provides users with similar videos as the one previously viewed.  While there were a handful of other videos of Bok performing, I was led to my next artist Hugo Ball.  Ball incorporates music, visual effects, and spoken words to compile the ultimate poem.  Throughout my search, I found his poem, “Seahorses and Flying Fish,” (below) to be incredibly captivating and beautifully executed as both my ears and eyes were aesthetically pleased.

From Hugo Ball I found Bill Bisset, another digital poet interested in the visual aspect of poetry as well as the verbal.  Unlike Ball, Bisset takes a milder approach to his digital art by including more static imagery such as paintings (as opposed to typography animation used by Ball), which is seen in “The Wizard Uv Time” (below).  I found the poem and the artwork to pair nicely together, but was left wanting a more modern take on the novel media platform.

Using typographic animation and music by artist Kanye West, J. Ivy’s poem “Never Let Me Down” is visually brought to life as the words in poem transform from written text to symbols brought to life by the poem itself.  Though the typographic animation is mainly a compellation of the words of the poem, simple images and unique placing of the text alter the meaning of the poem.  This video exemplifies digital poetry in its most true and unique form as it sets the stage for integration of text, video, and sound.

Finding a literary outlet associated with any of these four poets proved to be challenging due to the unfamiliarity with the artists themselves.  Being a young adult of the 21st century, I took to Facebook to see if any of them could be found.  I can’t say I was surprised to find that not one of these artists were to be found.  At this point I figured if Otter Pops had a Facebook page, literally every person, place, and thing must have one too.  Instead of searching for a “page” on Facebook, I changed my search engine to information found using Facebook, which led me to the pseudo Christian Bok Facebook page aka Wikipedia on Facebook.  With only 29 “likes,” no profile picture, and three short paragraphs recounting his career, Bok’s biography reveals his most popular poem “Eunoia” was published by Coach House Books, who is, by the way, also lacking a Facebook page as well.

Originally expecting to fail in finding anything remotely interesting and unique on YouTube, I have to admit the media platform to be the hidden gem of digital literature.  Unlike Facebook and Twitter, YouTube presents an array of different digital art through the visual beauty of video.  It may be the least interactive media platform, but YouTube certainly does its job well.

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7. my litterati crush

Every reader, scholar, novelist, poet, and literary artist has his or her own community of literature.  Consider it to be called genre, or their cannon, the works they deem to be the best, most inspiring or well written.  Within this digital age, genres expand beyond simply identifying as works of art and into the community that is created through the use of the digital expanse.  While Facebook and twitter are commonly misrepresented as a similar social networking tool (as I touched upon further in my last posting), I find them to be comparatively different.  Adding Youtube to the mix creates what I have deemed somewhat of a well-rounded digital expanse, allowing for the use of video, audio, the sharing of both platforms with friends and “friends,” as well as, advertising for said product, video, or in this case, literature being shared.  Facebook corners the market on bells and whistles, not only can you talk to your friends instantly, you can find out what they’re doing on a momentary basis, create social groups, look at pictures.  Essentially, Facebook allows users to create somewhat or an alternate social life.  You no longer have to leave your bedroom to have an entire face-to-face conversation.

All of these said “bells and whistles,” while certainly great for keeping in touch with long lost friends or finding out what music video’s the kid in your biology class likes, twitter takes the cake.  As it focuses more on concise messages (regardless of what they are), it allows for a more cornered genre or cannon, if you will, to be created through the literary world.  twitter allows for those partaking in the social network, to create their own genre of followings.  I love fashion, the Kardashian family (don’t judge), staying up to date on CNN, and laughing at Ellen DeGeneres, and therefore, my twitter page not only follows all of these people, but also allows me to see what others are saying about them as well.  Novelists, poets, writers, outlets, and scholars also have twitters tailored to their literary liking, allowing them a concise, informed idea of what each particular they choose to follow is following as well.

Being an English major, I follow several literary outlets and publishers.  One of my
favorites happens to be @poetshouse for two simple reasons: their icon is recognizable, which allows me to spot them as I quickly glance over my feed, and they tweet something else besides literary news!  I get it.  Literary outlets tweet literary news because, well, that’s why they’re on twitter.  Poetshouse often times tweets inspiring quotes, facts, and lines from beautiful poetry.  Instead of feeling bombarded by information about readings all over the United States, it gives me a chance to appreciate those readings by actually experiencing them.

Because Poetshouse is a publishing house as opposed to an author or literary scholar,
their following consists of other publishing houses such as @CoffeeHouse (another one of my favorites), @BatCatPress, @spdbooks, @Ampersandbks, and @versedaily poems.  While those publishing houses tweet interesting things as well, they don’t really provide me with what I’m looking for as a literary tweeter.  I finally came across Don Share, whom I am familiar with because I’m from Chicago, as he is the senior editor of Poetry magazine based in Chicago.  I must admit, the moment I clicked “follow” on his page, I fell in love.

Don Share is witty, well spoken, but a man of few words.  Though he rarely tweets his
own personal sharings, when he does they are clever and beautifully written.  Although, I’m not sure what else I was expecting from the senior editor of a prestigious literary magazine.  For those of you who share a love in the twitter literary genre of short, beautiful, and witty, you must check him out because I promise every time you scan through your tweets for the day, you’ll take an extra second to read his genus.

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facebook, what’s on your mind?

As Facebook becomes the dominant social platform for maintaining communication between new and old friends, it also presents itself as a representation of modernity.  No need to call up a friend, just Facebook chat; no need to send an email, just shoot a wall post and if that’s not private enough, send a personal message.  Because Facebook not incorporates what can deemed a necessity of now modern communication, it also provides a steppingstone for the evolution of written texts turn digital.  Not having the need to cultivate face-to-face communication creates digital written dialogue through conversations, literature, art, and many other mediums that find themselves floating around on the Internet.  Does this mean every time we opt out of grabbing coffee with a friend we’re comparably neglecting the existence of a paperback book?  Not quite.  While Facebook has given us an easier means to communicate, perhaps excluding other forms in situations, it has also designed other avenues of communication as well as creativity in both the social and literary worlds.

The evolution of Facebook can be attributed to its loyal users.  Four years ago, the desire to ensure our own personal information was suitable for others to see reigned over any interest in what others are doing.  As Facebook has developed alongside social platforms, the “News-Feed” was invented; the ultimate social tool.  Not only do we know what a percentage of our “friends” are doing, saying, and thinking, we’re fed the information without doing so much as looking at our computer screen.  Neglecting to scroll up or down, an interest has been peaked by fifteen people who have graced the limited screen.  Depending whether that information feeds our social crave, the desire to find out more is either created or destroyed.

In that first moment of social networking, what really drives our interest in “Facebooking” one another?  How do you determine a good Facebook profile?  Can you determine a good profile?  Is it all based on how you choose to present yours, choosing to be quirky, diplomatic, over spoken, in tune with social media, or none of the above.  As a media platform phenomenon, we have the ability, the power to essentially construct ourselves in whatever way we choose.  In one click, someone has the opportunity to meet either the person we are or want to be, our own personal branding statement.  Dictated by a picture, a status, the number of friends we have, our “liked” interests, witty wall posts, an entire personal cultivation of the brand we want to portray.  Ironically, this so-called personal brand, being that it is on the Internet, is often met with hesitation.  Is it necessary to post the death of a loved on as our status update no?  Do people do it anyway, absolutely.  Does this cross the line?  Who’s to say.  Facebook escapes social rules as it creates its own social dynamic, naming groups, fads, games, and plain old communication as fair game.

From a personal standpoint, Facebook serves as a means to sell ourselves to one another.  By cultivating and maintaining a specific image, we have the opportunity to become and therefore be portrayed as we choose.  Collectively using texts, video, and audio to create a new kind of communication, surpassing the use of directs contact, we create a sense of indirect authorial voice.  We choose to present ourselves in a certain way; a profile picture is present for others to see for a specific purpose, regardless if the said subject recognizes it or not.  Some status updates receive more feedback than others, as do posted videos, web links, and various pictures.  This ability to decidedly choose what others see and therefore how we’re represented speaks to the authorial presence of the 500 million people present on the interactive platform.

Like many popular platforms, Facebook presents calculated statistics in tracking their site.  Out of the 500 million users, 50% of those users long on to the social media site at any given point during their day proving the site is no longer used merely for networking, but it has been bumped up the chain of daily activities to making it on the list of “the daily routine”.  Whether it’s first thing in the morning, before writing a paper, while checking the news, or the weather, Facebook has been incorporated into the lives of 250 million people per day.  Arguably, it can be said the site is no longer an online phenomenon, but a 21st century lifestyle.

Alongside making digital social media part of the lifestyle many of us have, we also use it as a tool to define our own social status.  Each Facebook user has an average of 130 friends, exponentially surpassing the said 10 close friends The New York Times averaged a normal person had before the explosion of Facebook.  As said in an earlier post, these “friends” we have the privilege of “getting to know” through Facebook can range anywhere from someone you met drunk at a party, to your mother’s brother’s friend’s business partner.  How many of these “friends” do we even actually know and does it even matter  whether we’re friends with them at all?  According those who take part in the social phenomenon, yes it does because as our profile picture, status update, quirky, pictures, and witty comments dictate what kind of people we want others to perceive us to be, so does the number of friends we have.

Because Facebook has begun to blur the line between digital and written, literary outlets, like many other products, areas of study, and hobbies, have taken to using the social networking media mogul to their advantage.  With an audience of 500 million people, why not utilize the opportunity to gain publicity.  Seven years after it’s founding, Facebook has a “page” for everything, allowing users and promoters alike to take part in the dance of consumer and producer.  Now that the multi-use site has a search function, it allows pages that have been deemed the most popular by Facebook users themselves to pop up first.  In an attempt to find the most “popular” literary outlet, by typing in “literature,” the first page that showed up was literature the discipline with 369,970 “likes”.  On a social network of 500 million people, barely reaching the interest of 400,000 doesn’t seem quite as impressive as the other top pages such as Texas Hold’em (39, 769, 038 followers), Lady Gaga (31, 564, 726 followers), Michael Jackson (30,814,046followers), or Youtube (30,039,574), each which grow by the tens of thousands daily (

The top Facebook pages can easily by explained by social trends (with the exception of Texas Hold’em, I am at a loss as to why that’s number one).  As Lady Gaga get’s weirder, she essentially becomes more popular, just like as the growing number of videos featuring drugged up kids coming home from the dentists become funnier, YouTube’s viewers skyrocket.  What our society deems as trendy stems directly from the authorial presence we have in our own lives.  While we want to stay unique and original, we also want to stay up to date, and relevant.  I’d say it’s even debatable that “unique” and “original” have become trends in themselves at this point.

Because Facebook serves as such a limitless platform for our daily lives, we dictate its success as well as our own in terms of communication with one another.  Although it hasn’t replaced the world of well-written texts, the Classics, and book clubs, something can be said as Barns and Nobles heads into bankruptcy.  Originally meant to aid in connecting with others, the social phenomenon has provided its users with a sense of control, authority, and most of all, popularity.

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6. facebook: media mogul

With the hundreds of different media platforms now available throughout the expanse of the Internet, Facebook seems to be quite the king of them all.  In its abilities to connect people all over the globe, serve as a relationship builder, set the stage for online gaming, and provide a platform for sharing a bit of our lives with those who we call “friends,” the phenomenon of Facebook now serves as a media mogul.  Using Facebook as a search device such as Google or Bing has its benefits as it allows any user to become aware of the possible networks and informational connections that come with the click of a button.  Literary outlets and writers have created their own Facebook niche, connecting with one another to stay informed and relevant in the literary world.  As a student, especially an English major, being exposed to the world of literary Facebook has allowed me to expand not only my knowledge of writers, but the face paced shared knowledge that essentially has turned the literary world upside down.

While this may be considered an easy way out, I began my submersion into literary Facebook though an English professor.  As she and I are Facebook friends, I have the ability to access any information she chooses to post on her page, literature related or not.  Luckily, she makes it a point to post links to various literary outlets, blogs, commenting platforms, writers, and media outlets.  She has also befriended many of the popular writers who are currently effecting and altering the world of literature as we speak.  Between the posts and her “friend-list,” taking on the challenge of exploring the literary through Facebook proves to be several times more accessible than other search engines.

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of literary scholars, writers, publishing houses, and networks present on Facebook.  Choosing to stay local and relevant, I opted to check out “ABOUTAWORD,” a literary blog, which deems itself as a “weekly literary blog publication” for both writers and readers (  The blog is aesthetically simple, with a focus on content as opposed to ads.  The voice of the blog asserts an authority while keeping a conversational tone.  Each time a specific writer or piece of literary art is introduced, the blog makes sure to give a bit of their opinion on each particular artist of piece.  Because of the certainty the blog seems to hold in terms of its own voice, it lends a feeling of validation as well as authority to any reader.

Making my Facebook search even easier (I know, who knew that was possible), the blog offers a section dedicated to information about each writer that the blog features. Five writers who I found to be interesting had one major thing in common: they were all Facebook friends with my English professor.  Allison Joseph, Erin Costello, Joy Katz, Nicky Beer, and Patricia Colleen Murphy not only had Facebook, but many of them were “friends” with each other.  Within the platform of Facebook, each of these specific writers has been able to connect and network with each other as well as major literary publications and interesting works, either their own or another writers.

As many popular and featured blogs do, ABOUTAWORD links to their Facebook page, Twitter, and a link to subscribe to an RSS feed.  While Facebook serves as an incredible media platform, the ability to use several media outlets to engage and provide easy access to the information at hand, has truly transformed the Internet and those who partake in its entirety.  If you don’t have a Facebook, you have a Twitter, as I found many of the above five writers did as well.  Though they’re essentially the same thing (networking and communication tools), Twitter seems to accommodate the literary world a bit more flawlessly than Facebook for the simple reason that it serves its purpose and cuts out the other “bells and whistles” that accompany Facebook.  Through the various points of access the Internet has allowed the literary world, the rate in which it is expanding serves to make literature- whether it be the classics or a poem the girl you sit next to in class published on her blog- incredibly accessible, serving as a new outlet for literary poets, novelists, and artists.

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