Tweeting the Author: Tao Lin’s Performance of Authorial Identity on Twitter
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This article takes a closer look at how the American author Tao Lin uses Twitter to perform his authorial identity. Twitter serves as a primary platform for Lin to shape and reshape the public images of him as an author. Lin’s Twitter presence operates as 140-character bursts of authorial self-presentation. The tweets he chooses to post combined with his views on Twitter as a presentational platform show that Lin is conscious of his identity performance, especially online. With this knowledge, he uses the language of Twitter to enact his authorial identity and influence the representations that circulate in the literary world, but he fell short because of the dominant role print media play in images of authorship. To counteract this and gain cultural legitimacy for his online identity in the literary world, Lin resorts to remediating his Twitter profiles into a fetishized print book. Lin’s coquettish relationship with Twitter shows his audience that the platform is more than a place to generate attention for oneself; it is a site for the continual reshaping of identity on a mass scale.
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