A few years ago fairy tale scholar Donald Haase* proposed a "communal catalogue" of #TwitterTypes, which were to be new summaries of traditional tales in 140 characters or less, to be used as a modern projection of the tale types classifications. Why Twitter? In Haase's words (from his personal Facebook page):
Because the discipline of 140 characters composed on a computer or smartphone forces creative choices about a tale’s “essence,” and those choices reveal, to the Tweeter, the alternatives — the “Tweets-not-taken.”(Note: we did actually collect as many of these #twittertypes as we could find at the time and are considering adding a page for them to be stored here, perhaps added to if folk are inspired.)
While the project started well, and proved fascinating, it didn't last long and was not very extensive, which was unfortunate, as the potential for study using this tool and tack is wonderful and very reflective of how people today think. It also reflects the methods and thinking process for how we often tell stories in this social media and visual era. The experiment, though not proving successful as a modern alternative to the Aa-Th classification system as planned, did, however, make the point of showing that tales can be told, distilled, summarized, from various cultural and personal viewpoints via this social media medium.
|God creating the animals ‘The Taymouth Hours’, England 14th century.|
Described mostly via a brief dialogue exchange with God and an angel "sidekick" (or creation-technician), there isn't a lot of narrative detail, but each imply a situation and a result, and collectively - as they were written by multiple Twitter-users in a collective "brainstorm" - they provide a snapshot of modern humor and fable. They also wonderfully illustrate storytelling via memes (or memetics).
We're sure there are folklorists out there who could easily expand this into a fascinating lecture on storytelling and sociology but for today: the lecture is over. ;)
We've decided to call these, "Five Second Fables".
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* We understand Dr. Haase recently retired - happy golden years Dr. Haase!