Tweetku: a Digital Essay

Tweetku Logo


My digital essay attempts to do three things: to consider the relationship between Twitter and poetry, to create a framework for understanding how Twitter communities function, and to tell the story of @TheTweetku and #tweetku. All of these ideas come together in my essay as a consideration of what value Twitter offers to contemporary digital writers and writing communities.

I began with a personal quest in @TheTweetku to popularize the term “tweetku” and to join what poetry and haiku communities already existed on Twitter. As I began to develop this identity into my digital essay, I did background research on Twitter in general and then in its use for community-building, especially through hashtags, specifically. At the same time, my journeys through Twitter’s #haiku communities led me to a growing micropoetry movement that had found purchase on the social media site. I decided to organize my essay around these two concepts in order to contextualize my personal experience with @TheTweetku and give a useful framework for analyzing the #tweetku community.

Though the writing process itself was particularly slow-going for me, I relied quite a bit on the feedback on my classmates through the pre-writing stage and revisions of partial drafts.

Affordances and Constraints:
Practically speaking, using WordPress allowed me to embed tweets easily, which I never would have been able to do in print and especially not with the interactive functionality.  I was also able to write in a more immediately accessible voice, aided by links to more blogs, websites, and newspaper articles than printed scholarly work.

Most of the difficult issues came with attempting to translate my traditional idea of an essay into digital terms. Organization was one area in particular that I struggled with as I tried to negotiate linearity and transitions between pages in my digital essay. The same is true of citations, although I actually had a lot of fun figuring out digital equivalents to in-text citations.



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