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Twitter Essay Critical Response #2


Once again as part of our Digital Humanities course, my class and I were required to write a “Twessay” about as specific topic as detailed by our lecturer, Donna Alexander, in a tweet:

When discussing the future of storytelling, people often refer to the introduction of the digital medium as the evolution of narrative. However, just because something is in digital form, does not make it an innovation. For example, there is very little conversion from books to the digital form. An analogy of this would be watching a movie on a VCR tape, before converting to a cd. Just because the medium on which the story is viewed has changed, does not mean innovation or evolution has occurred. The way we know that something has changed is when our experience with said thing has been altered. In this sense the future of storytelling is not in that of eBooks, but in that of interactive storytelling, most notably that of video games.

In my “Twessay” I brought my thoughts on the future of story to the forefront of my essay:

For centuries we as a race have heard stories been told. Now with new technology we can interact with these stories, often turning them into games. This new interactive element makes storytelling more engaging and compelling to individuals, who feel that they are more important to the story than ever. Video Games like “The Walking Dead”, “Mass Effect and the more recent “Until Dawn, are all examples where the games ability to allow people to interact with the story has propelled the games to massive popularity.  I truly feel this is how storytelling has evolved the most in recent times, and will continue to evolve and become more and more interactive with their audience

I feel like my sentiment for the future of storytelling is echoed in Patrick O’Toole’s “Twessay” when he writes:

Similar to myself, Patrick recognise the importance that interaction with the narrative has on the future of storytelling. However, while he does recognise the obvious benefits that the new digital age has for these stories, Patrick says that it is not the tools themselves which are causing the evolution of the art, but the way they are used. Patrick also includes a link to the website “Interactive Narratives” which is a website which collects interactive pieces written by journalists across the globe in order to highlight their work.

In another interpretation of the title, Senan Clancy in his “Twessay” discusses the way storytelling as a whole has benefited from the introduction of the internet and the impact of the digital age.

Senan outlines how storytelling is becoming more accessible to people and spreading more rapidly to individuals across the wold. The digital age also ensure the survival of the stories due to the intangible concept behind these stories remaining online forever for the future to see. This is an evolution in another way, one that ensures the continuity of storytelling for generations to come.

So while the internet plays a crucial role in the evolution of storytelling, including the protection of it, I feel, it is the interactive side of storytelling which allows for evolution to take place.


  1. Donna Alexander’s Twessay:
  2. My Tweet:         
  3. Patrick O’Toole’s Twessay:
  4. Senan Clancy’s Twessay:


In the past, for a person to use their real name while on the internet was viewed as dangerous and extremely unsafe. Nowadays, it is common place, and it is rare that website would encourage the use of ‘nicknames’, ‘pseudonym’ or usernames over that of a Facebook account, twitter account or some other non-anonymous account. This gradual evolution towards the point where your real life and your internet presence merge together, seems like a gradual evolution, but posting your private details online is not an advisable action to take.

However, as the lines become blurred between reality and the internet, it is difficult to see a future where being Anonymous on the internet will continue to be a common method of identity. With the emergence of famous internet celebrity’s, younger people are deciding to use their own names just in case they too achieve stardom.  But this is more than just individuals using their real names, companies are actively encouraging people to put their entire lives out on the internet for the whole world to see. Personally I wouldn’t have a Facebook account if it wasn’t for job opportunities.  This shift in attitude is detrimental to the security of all.

This topic came to the forefront back in 2013, when Google attempted to force YouTube users to use their real names on YouTube. The backlash was so vicious and negative, that it wasn’t long before Google reverted its policy and allowed for Anonymous postings again. The reason for this is the fact that many people posted unfriendly, and otherwise offensive, comments on YouTube, and they were placed in a very exposed position.

It seems that to some people at least, Anonymity is the safest route on the internet. Personal security protection is extremely important.

Recently an English student named Grace Marr had her Facebook photos used on a sex website. Similarly it is estimated that around 2000 Irish students who have had their picture’s stolen and used on porn sites as well.

Humorously the television show, Dave the Physic displayed how easy it is to find someone’s personal information on Facebook. He used this information to trick people into believing he was a physic, by being able to speak about private details about their lives.

The fact is, people are becoming more and more carefree about the way they use the internet. Privacy has given way. Using Facebook to keep in contact with friends and family is very appealing, however once something is posted online, it can never be deleted. There is no reason why a person should disclose their home address on the internet or private facts about their lives.

Anonymity is the safer way to use the internet. It protects you and your family. It allows people to express themselves easier and post their opinions online. As no one knows anything about you, racism and discrimination is avoided. While cyberbullying can still occur, it would be less specific and personal to a person.

Remaining anonymous allows for a safer and a more secure use of the internet.






Evolution of language and the use of Emoticons

“Hwæt! We Gar-Dena   in gear-dagum.” [1]

I wonder how many people can read, or even recognise this quote. It is from, indeed, one of the most famous poems ever written. In Fact it is from one of the oldest, if not the oldest poem, written in English. But how does that make sense? We speak English, do we not? I for one have spoken it all my life. Yet I too cannot understand this line from the poem Beowulf. Yet it is English. But how is it possible that the language that we speak today, is not the same as it was a thousand years ago! English is, like everything, always evolving and changing. Over the course of history many cultures influenced the language of English, from its Germanic and Latin Roots to the Norman invasion, which lead to the incorporation of many new French words. The British Empire was also once the largest empire in the world. Only 22 countries in the world have not been invaded by England. The language has encountered thousands of other cultures and languages. In contemporary history, English has been changed by colloquialisms by youths across the world. “English” as we know it, is not as we know it.

The introduction of new words such as selfie and twerk, all suggest that language is a living breathing thing. Other examples include affectionate terms such as homie, brav or bae.  New words are constantly being invented. Often there are nay-sayers who refuse to accept these new words as being words. It is felt that you cannot make up a word. There are rules to languages, which cannot be altered. This is of course, a load of nonsense. The only reason that grammar and structure was applied to languages is so that people can fully understand each other. It was not a royal decree or against the law. It was done to improve communication.

So if the English language is subject to change, then are not all languages? And if all languages are able to change, is it possible that they could all change in the same way?

The “invention” of the emoticon, has allowed for, more accessible ways for people to express their tones in text. For example, when saying that someone is being sarcastic on television, the subtitles often follow the sarcastic sentence with a (!). However, after using this symbol in text messaging, I quickly learned that people did not understand me. However, a symbol that people do understand is someone smiling: :),  or one of a person crying: :’( . As humans we are able to read other people’s faces, as they often reflect our own. By using an emoticon, I am able express my true feeling of the incident, without explicitly saying it, or hoping people could sense it. I can make my point clear and concise so that anyone could understand it. Other newer emoticons are often inanimate objects. This still has the same effect as the Smiley Face. Often it is the certain emotion felt with an object, or a memory. These symbols help accentuate the language as a whole. Of course there are some odd ones, which perhaps not everyone understands, but perhaps it has a significance to certain people. The emoticons allow the text to become more alive. It gives the written word a personality. This personification of language is a huge advancement in communication, the future of language and text. The emoticon has the ability to transcend languages and culture, because everyone knows what a smile means.

People who suffer from dyslexia and autism, and other disabilities, often face difficulties in expressing themselves in text. This is where emoticons are shown to be extremely advantageous. People with learning disabilities can find it easier to express themselves in a picture rather than a word. And perhaps this is not a bad thing, just another, perhaps better, way of communicating. UTV Ireland recently published an article about Rob Laffan who recently invented a text message system to help communicate with his daughter who suffers from non-verbal autism. Using pictures, Rob’s daughter Sadie is able to associate pictures with her own expression. This is just one practical use of using images to express emotion. [2]

However it is not the first time word has been written in images. Hundreds of years ago the Egyptians used hieroglyphics to write. Just like modern emoticons they used images in order to express sentences. That’s great! This means that emoticons can work as a language! But why does it no longer exist? What is it that happened that caused these beautiful pictures to become warped lines? It rather simple really, not a lot of people can easily carve a flying eagle the size of a pea into a stone. The Latin alphabet won over due to its simplicity in use, containing twenty six symbols called letters all in similar style, twisted versions of a straight line.

However with computers now becoming the main form of writing, perhaps there is no longer a need for such dull lettering, perhaps it is time to go back to the ancient times and turn writing into a visual art as well as a written one. Perhaps, this is the future of writing, after all anyone can write down two dots and a bracket. This new method of communication, is the future, and is something that should be embraced not obstructed.

The main question with the future of the emoticon is in its use. It can be cross cultural, not taking any meaning from any one pre-existing language. It is a remarkable new invention.

However, people are now trying to make this remarkable invention its own language, with explicit meanings behind certain emoticons .Indeed it may end up, one day being a fully-fledged language. We can see examples of Emoji poetry and Stories told in emoticons.

However possibly, this will change emoticons from its original intent. Emoji’s will become another more colourful code. It will have lost its uniqueness. We will have lost a new ground-breaking method of communication.





[2] UTV Ireland:


Flickr, Emerging Media- Twitter Bird by mkhmarketing, CC BY 2.0]

Twitter Essay Critical Response #1

For our Digital Humanities course, we are required to tweet a series of twitter essays, or “Twessays”, about an important topic. For our first “Twessay” we had to tweet about “Openness” in relation to open access and the internet. For my “Twessay”, I attempted to be blunt and to the point;

“#openness & #openaccess saves lives. Information should be acessble to all not just to the privaleged #DHUCCTwessay” [1]

My Twitter essay was designed to be easily digested and understandable. For what greater cause is there than that of saving a person’s life? By information being free, people’s lives can be saved. Information being restricted to the wealthy and the affluent, is simply not fair. More often than not these are not the people who need information the most. Open access argues information should be free to all, to which I agree wholeheartedly. The addition of a meme of a twist on Jimmy McMillan’s popular saying, and party, “The Rent is Too Damn High” was done out of a satirical purpose, as well as a contrasting one. Jimmy McMillan is the founder of the “The Rent Is Too Damn High Party” which as the title suggests, is a party which argues that the cost of rent is too much on the underprivileged in New York City. The purpose of this party is to support those who are in need of financial support

 “My main job is to provide a roof over your head, food on the table and money in your pocket. This is politics as usual, playing the silly game, and this is not gonna happen.” [2]

In a similar vein to the student journals, the cost of rent in New York can cause disastrous repercussions on individuals in need. While I am unaware if McMillan statements are true, the situation presented is certainly sympathetic.

Also, the picture is humorous and hopefully allows people to connect to the issue, as they do not feel as if they are being lectured. The statement itself seems to be a ridiculous comment for a politician to make, as it is so informal.

Arlene Murray brings up an important point in her Twitter essay. She calls on the morality of the situation.

“Paywalling pioneering research is immoral.Should #openness be accessible 2 all medical institutions?#DHUCCTwessay” [3]

It is clear on closer inspection, that the main reason for paywalls, is a purely selfish one. Publishers wish to make money of the discoveries made by researchers. As the link to the article, Arlene embedded in her tweet, quotes “In the digital age, there is no excuse for hiding your candle under a bushel.”

This sentiment, is echoed in Laoise’s post, as she deals with the financial aspect, as well as the original intent of the internet;

“The Internet was made 4 the #Openness of knowledge & the sharing of info, not for publishers to make ? off academic content #DHUCCTwessay” [4]

As Laoise points out, the point of the internet is so that people can contact each other. Sharing information is what the crux of the internet is, not so that someone can exploit money off people in need of help. Others in the, like Andrew Wiggins, also agreed with this. As Andrew states;

 “Openness to me is the idea of unrestricted access to knowledge and no one body in charge of it,more of a cooperative structure #DHUCCTwessay” [5]

Andrew says that the information, and in context, the internet is supposed to be open to everyone, no one person should have complete control over it. It should be free and accessible to all!

These “twessays”, hopefully have highlighted what are the most important aspects of open access, for everyone to see and understand. I feel like everyone had done a great job of compacting such a vital topic into such as small text.



[1] My Tweet:

[2] The Huffington Post;                 

[3] Arlene Murray’s Tweet:

 The Digital Universe;                           

[4] Laoise’s Tweet:

[5] Andrew Wiggan’s Tweet:


Image: [Flickr, Emerging Media- Twitter Bird by mkhmarketing, CC BY 2.0]