After reading the article “Social Media and Literature” by M.W. Jacobs it got me thinking about all kinds of things. What really defines literature? If a tweet has the same effect as a poem does that mean they are both literature? If a post on social media and a poem have similar things in common like minimalism, does that mean they are both literature?

“The maximum 160 characters for texting and 140 for tweeting, along with other forms of social media, have a concentrating effect on the verbal environment.” – M.W. Jacobs

There is this amazing and powerful poem called “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. It is only eight lines. It only has twenty four words in it. This is similar to the character limitation on Twitter if you want to post something. If something can be as powerful as that with so little amount of words, then should it be considered literature? I guess it also really depends on opinion. My personal opinion would be that if it can have that much of an effect on people then it should be considered literature. In this article from Relevant magazine it shows some of the most powerful tweets posted in the year of 2016.  While some may not be the most serious, there are some that are very influential and are an imporant part of people’s lives today. They talk about politics and social movements. These tweets impacted people in powerful ways much like a book or a poem would. Maybe then they should be considered literature?

“We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.”

– Gwendolyn Brooks

There are also short ads and videos that seem very powerful too. Why is it that sometimes so few words can have so much impact on people? I think sometimes when things are simplified it can really get people to focus on what matters. Then they can form their own thoughts and think about it in their own way.

M.W. Jacobs talks about some of these things I have mentioned. These minimalistic things are snagging so much attention. He mentions how the “Got Milk?” campaign has been so successful and there really isn’t that much involved. There is no one giving a speech about all of the benefits of drinking milk and which brands to choose or which kind to buy. They choose influential, healthy people to paint a white mustache above their lip and say the catch phrase. They put it on posters in school cafeterias and paste the logo on milk cartons. When I was younger I saw an olympic gold medalist with a white mustache. I thought that she looked really healthy and happy so I bet drinking milk must have helped her obtain that healthiness. The ad let me do my own thinking and I came up with my own conclusion. Maybe that is why minimalism is so powerful? It let’s people have their own opinions. It can give people power by letting them form their own thoughts. I feel like that is what literature does.

So are social media messages and other forms of powerful minimalism just like poems and books? Can they be considered literature? What do you think literature is supposed to be?



I looked up “powerful tweets” on Google and millions showed up. Social media is a powerful force.


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