Tweeting from the grave

Shakespeare, adaptation, and social media

Authored by: Anna Blackwell

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:


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In Spreadable Media Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green provide a revolutionary model of contemporary cultural practices, suggesting that older, top-down models of distribution are no longer viable. They argue that in contemporary culture “a mix of top-down and bottom-up forces determine how material is shared across and among cultures in far more participatory (and messier) ways” (2013: 1). Founded on the simultaneity of circulation and reception, the explosion of participatory media forms marks a shift in which the public are not “simply consumers of preconstructed messages” but are “shaping, sharing, reframing and remixing media content” (2). This quality (examined by Jenkins, Ford, and Green in a variety of  “spreadable” media forms including film, television, advertising, and gaming) is, the authors argue, a key characteristic of contemporary culture, with the unique mode of public engagement that invites “reshaping the media landscape itself” (2). It is this potential, “both technical and cultural,” for audiences to share content according to their own purposes, which is the focus of this paper and its discussion of Shakespeare’s continuing adaptive legacy on social media and, in particular, on Twitter (3).

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