To Emoji, or Not to Emoji: Twitter Celebrates Shakespeare


Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have emojis thrust upon them.

To mark 400 years since his death, Twitter this weekend will turn William Shakespeare into an emoji.

In partnership with actor Sir Patrick Stewart, Twitter and Periscope will launch the new icon on Saturday. Users are encouraged to drudge up memories of high school English class and share their take on a classic verse, using #ShakespeareLives.

Follow the hashtag on April 23 to catch live broadcasts from Akala, The BBC, performing teacher Mark Grist, The Globe Theatre, and The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

And, in a Periscope first, GoPro is pairing with Grassroots Shakespeare London for live re-enactments of some of the Bard's most loved plays. Tune in every hour on the hour for scenes from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and more—performed live and streamed via GoPro cameras in iconic London locations.

"He was the greatest ever wordsmith [and] would totally be on Twitter and probably love a GIF," Media Partnership Manager Julia White wrote in a blog post.

Diehard fans of the Swan of Avon—or English Lit teachers—can remember the writer this weekend by imagining what he would tweet if he were alive today. In fewer than 140 characters, tweet your best impression with the hashtag #Shakespeare400, which will also trigger the new emoji.

"To truly bring Shakespeare's works into the 21st century, we're working with The Globe to find out how long it takes Twitter to publish the Complete Works of Shakespeare," White announced.

Using the "intuitive algorithm" that helped power the London Eye ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, the social network will scour live tweets to find relevant words needed to fill in his 42 plays and poems.

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