Tweeting the Author: Tao Lin’s Performance of Authorial Identity on Twitter

  • Justin Russell Greene Hampden-Sydney College


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.

Author Biography

Justin Russell Greene, Hampden-Sydney College

Justin Russell Greene is a recent graduate of the interdisciplinary Media, Art, and Text PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University. His dissertation, I Am an Author: Performing Authorship in Literary Culture, analyzes authorship as a social identity performance in U.S. literary culture through an interdisciplinary framework. His work pulls from authorship studies, performance studies, celebrity/persona studies, media and cultural studies, and sociological studies of art to uncover how writers create and disseminate their authorial identities. Justin has published on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and presented papers on authors’ fashions, twitter, and Kim Kardashian. He will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, U.S. this upcoming year.

How to Cite
Greene, J. (2018). Tweeting the Author: Tao Lin’s Performance of Authorial Identity on Twitter. Authorship, 7(1).