Twitter has become a great way of disseminating information to fans of a particular type of media. Sometimes it happens in a straightforward, linear way – the company or person involved in creating a book, movie or television series tweets something that gets re-tweeted by a bunch of people that are interested and then flows out from there.
Sometimes, however, information flows out in a far more interesting way, which, I would argue, is unique to the internet, and particularly common on Twitter. Someone makes a joke, and the joke is shared not directly, but by the person making up their own version of it and passing it on to their friends. The concept of the joke, idea or news is shared, but not the content. On Twitter this happens with hashtags (marked off with the # symbol). For example, the recent leadership spill in the Federal Labor party, which resulted in Julia Gillard becoming Australia’s first female PM, was marked off with the hashtag #spill. Users interested in following the spill on Twitter could search for #spill and find up to the second news and chatter about the story from random people, journalists and celebrities. Hashtags are tracked by Twitter and are kept track of in Trending Topics, which appear to the right of the Twitter feed on every user’s screen.
Sometimes the hashtag is not as serious or important as a leadership spill, but is just a vehicle for users to communicate ideas, jokes and thoughts. A recent hashtag on books was funny enough that I thought it might justify a blog post. The tag was #lesserbooks, and the premise was to come up with a pun on an existing book title that made it seem somehow … lesser. I first saw the hashtag in author John Birmingham’s feed when he tweeted one of his own book titles (Without Much Warning #lesserbooks), and saw a number of friends follow with their own interpretations.
Below are a few that made me laugh – I haven’t bothered to seek the original author, as it’s as likely as not that multiple people came up with the same titles at the same time. Sound off in the comments if you come up with one of your own.
- Lionel Ritchie’s Wardrobe
- A Brief History of Tim
- Great Expectorations
- The Bibble
- Schindler’s Lift
- The Merchant of Tennis
- The Lord of the Files
- Catch 21
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Hitler
- The Crepes of Wrath