Dead Authors on Social Media

Annika Barranti Klein

Contributing Editor

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

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I follow a lot of authors on Twitter. It’s practically a requirement these days that authors have social media followings (the less said on what I think about that, the better) (okay, I think it is REALLY SILLY AND NOT A GOOD LONG-TERM STRATEGY) and I got to thinking about my favorite authors of the past and how they might have gotten along on various social media.

James Baldwin would not be on any social media. He would claim to be too busy for it, and unlike most people who say that, it would be true.

William Shakespeare would be on everything. Everything. He would fucking love Tumblr, he’d be the king of Twitter, he would make fun of your racist uncle on Facebook. He would Instagram his lunch. He would have two dozen Pinterest boards just for parchment and quills (and dozens more for other stuff).

Shirley Jackson would use Twitter to yell at people and brands that have wronged her (real or perceived). She would write curt replies to people who dislike “The Lottery.” She would write long multi-tweet screeds and refuse to thread them. She would be a menace. It would be glorious. (Her husband, Stanley Hyman, would of course be on Reddit.)

Dorothy Parker, Queen of Twitter, would be absolutely wicked and her pithy humor would shine. She would delete her account every few months, often coinciding with a deadline.

Maya Angelou would have a rarely-updated blogspot blog, where she would mostly post poem fragments and little notes to herself.

Patricia Highsmith would post tasteful nudes of your wife on Instagram. Her account would be under a fake name, but everyone would know it’s her.

Zora Neale Hurston would have a lovely, much-beloved blog that she updated only during anthropological research trips.

The Brontes would have a shared LiveJournal, written in character as made-up people.

Edgar Allan Poe would still post faithfully to his DeadJournal every day, and be very extra on it. He would also secretly post fan fiction of his own work on AO3.

Ralph Ellison would have a wildly popular weekly podcast. He would talk about whatever he wanted, and have his friends on as guests.

Jane Austen would be on Ravelry, where she would post in feminist groups about the absurdity of women embracing traditional gender roles in the domestic arts and especially knitting. She would be banned from several groups and finally start her own LSG offshoot.