If They Lived Now: 7 Famous Authors from the Past and Their Preferred Social Networks

As both an English major and a social media enthusiast, I sometimes have bizarre conversations with others. You know, the hard-hitting questions like, “If famous authors from the past lived now, what social networks would they be on?”

So I decided to have an introspective reflection about this pressing matter and then quickly report the findings to our readers. But I won’t keep you any longer; read on to see the results of my musings and Photoshop time.

Facebook – Herman Melville

When it comes to spamming all of your friends with inane updates about your life, I feel like nobody would enjoy that more than Herman Melville. He spent tons of time at sea, so you could expect tons of pictures from his various trips. I’m sure he’d like to keep his friends up-to-date about his writing, so I can only imagine how crowded one’s newsfeed would be with updates about Moby Dick.

Twitter – Oscar Wilde

A whole bunch of people projecting their thoughts and dirty laundry into the open? That would be Oscar Wilde’s jam. Twitter is the online watering hole for discussing what’s fashionable. And even though there are thousands of tweets sent per minute…how many of them are actually adding value to the world? Wilde would be beside himself with glee to use Twitter. If The Importance of Being Earnest were written today, I’d bet good money that tweeting would be an integral part of the story line.

Google+ – HG Wells

With Google+’s large, technology-loving and male-skewing population, H.G. Wells would be right at home. He could share snip-its from his latest books, share all kinds of gifs, and talk enthusiastically about men jumping from space. He would love to discuss the difference in smartphones (I think he’d be an Android guy) and would be a pro at holding hangouts for book and science discussions.

YouTube – William Shakespeare

Since William Shakespeare lived for live theatre and performance, I bet he would’ve been an early adopter of YouTube. What better way to gauge which sonnets soared and which scenes flopped by testing them for free in front of millions of viewers? He would certainly have his own YouTube channel where he and the King’s (Queen’s? Prime Minister’s?) Men would perform monologues and scenes that would range from the latest fart joke to profound satire.

Pinterest – Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s preferred social network isn’t Pinterest just because she’s a woman. Austen loved to write about the woman’s point of view in society, so she’d love having a virtual pinboard to recreate the styles of the time and craft her characters. I’d imagine there’d be tons of boards, from “Marianne’s Style” to “For Pemberley.” And while Jane wouldn’t make a wedding board for herself, you can bet she’d make one for Elizabeth Bennet.

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LiveJournal – Virginia Woolf

Even though a large amount of authors would consider flocking to LiveJournal, I think that Virginia Woolf would call this blogging community home. Her stream-of-consciousness writing style would be revered in her personal blog and she would find plenty of feminist communities to join and contribute to. Experiments in prose would be loved and grab instant feedback.

Instagram – Henry David Thoreau

Environmentalism? Simple living? Sounds like some of the traits of a modern day hipster. And that’s why I think Henry David Thoreau would love using Instagram. Having a philosophical discussion with Emerson at Starbucks? Have to Instagram it! Procrastinating some writing while chilling at Walden? Go outside and Instagram.

Alas, since computers, smartphones, the internet, and social media was invented long after these great writers lived, we will never get to know the real answers.

What do you think? Any other authors and social networks you’d like to pair up? Was I totally off-base with any of these? Let me know in the comments!


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on


  1. W Tucker

    You’re brilliant, Mandy. Thoreau IS instagram 😛

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thank you! 🙂 If Walden was written today, I bet it would be accompanied by Instagram pictures. I’m glad you agree!

  2. Eric

    Really curious to see how Hemingway would fare if placed in such context… 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Honestly, I think that Hemmingway would completely stay away from social media. I think he’d be perfectly content with text messaging. Because social media would take away from the experiences of war, being outside, and being true.

  3. Amy E Hansen

    You guys come up with the coolest posts!

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