THE HERMENEUTICS OF LISTAPP: ARE LISTS LITERATURE?

Social media has been moving this way for awhile now, fortunately or unfortunately. I'm really interested in starting a conversation about what literature is, here, now, in 2015. Are ListApp lists literature? Are tweets literature?
  1. People have been publishing tweets for some time, actually. In 2010 Dennis Leary published a book of his own tweets, for example.
  2. My favorite Twitter feed, @NeinQuaterly is run by an ex-professor of German studies at Penn. He gave up his academic job to write tweets FOR A LIVING.
    And it's incredible. In an interview with The New Yorker, he describes his Twitter aesthetic as "writing a caption for a cartoon that doesn't exist." This guy has literally written tweets for places like The Paris Review, and collaborated on cartoons.
  3. Here are some examples:
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  6. This is a book.
  7. Additionally, publications like McSweeney's have been literally been publishing lists--like the kind you can find on here--in their magazine.
  8. Then look at the number of really high-brow publications and media outlets on here, right now. NPR has been putting out some incredible lists, for example.
    This is what I'll say--if lists began as a kind of novelty thing (let's look at Buzzfeed as a solid example) they are becoming much more established and legitimate--and ListApp is a huge step in that direction.
  9. Because ListApp is really way less of a form of social media than it is amateur publication.
  10. Think of how disruptive the aesthetic of "the list" is. Lists are literally everywhere these days. Where were lists 5 years ago? The internet purports the kind of categorical thinking that ListApp operates on.
  11. I would go so far as to say that our thoughts conform way more to lists than anything else.
  12. Plus, statistically, attention spans are way way low.
  13. Hence why I am writing this way.
  14. In my view, a list is a sort of extra-literary genre--in the same way that the novel is a genre, or the lyric is a genre. When the novel first came about as a form of organizing story-telling (think 1600's), it was highly contested. People thought of it as trash.
  15. The thought was that it was a cheap source of condensed information ("real literature" back then was largely what we would refer to as "The Classics" (Homer, Shakespeare, Ovid, Chaucer, Dante, et al)
  16. Opponents of ListApp are saying literally the same thing, at least the ones I've talked to about
  17. I think that right now we are in a kind of transitory stage. Print and electronic media are going digital. ListApp is, in my view, a step in a direction of a new kind of literary media.
  18. It is both exciting and horrifying.
  19. Literature will likely change very much in the next couple of years.
  20. I'd get ready.