M J Steel Collins talks to Willow C Winsham about the hashtag taking Twitter by storm #FolkloreThursday
How did #FolkloreThursday come about?
It all stemmed really from a conversation between myself and Dee Dee Chainey; we were saying it was a pity there wasn’t a hashtag or similar for those interested in folklore and joked that we should create one. With a bit more discussion however it soon became clear that there was actually a good deal of scope for this, and we soon decided that if we wanted one, it would be a good idea to start it ourselves!
What’s the significance of Thursday over the alliterative #FolkloreFriday?
We went for Thursday for quite a simple reason; someone was already using #FolkloreFriday as a personal hashtag and we didn’t want to tread on any toes by appropriating it ourselves. We also didn’t want to clash with any of the other fantastic hashtag days already operating, such as ArchiveDay, SundayBlogshare and MondayBlogs, and Thursday was one of the few unclaimed days. Of course later on it was pointed out that it was actually a really relevant day to choose, what with the Thursday/Thor’s Day connection, but we can’t take credit for that!
Did you think it would take off in the way it has?
Not at all, and we are constantly surprised and really quite humbled by the interest and support people have shown us and the project since we launched last June. We knew of course that folklore was a popular subject, but we didn’t realise just how much people had been waiting for something like this. It has been a wonderful (though hectic!) few months, and we’ve got to know some really fantastic people, and also learnt a lot more about various aspects of folklore ourselves!
Can you tell us more about the new site?
After a lot of deliberation, the website seemed like the natural next step to take, especially as people had been asking for a while whether we had any plans to expand. The aim behind the site is to make a central “hub” for the #FolkloreThursday crowd, something a bit more permanent than the fleeting nature of life on Twitter! We are updating each week with new articles on folklore related topics, and the response so far has been hugely encouraging.
Where do you see #FolkloreThursday going in future?
When this question comes up, I always joke that what I really want is an I love #FolkloreThursday mug or pen! Seriously though, for the meantime we are focusing on maintaining and expanding the hashtag day and the website, both of which take up a great deal of time. Again we’ve talked a lot about this, but one thing that is very important to us is keeping things manageable and also maintaining the high standards that people have come to expect from #FolkloreThursday. That isn’t to say that we won’t be doing more in the future though, so watch this space!
Why is folklore still so significant today?
It comes down to a number of things I think. So many of the tales and stories associated with folklore are ones we first hear in childhood; even if we haven’t heard them for years they are part of our makeup, both as individuals and as a culture as a whole. We carry that with us, and there is almost an overwhelming urge to tap back into that at various points in one’s life: that is part of what makes the appeal so universal as well. Another factor that plays a part is that it keeps wonder and magic alive in what is so often a consumer driven, goal-oriented world. Folklore in its many guises allows, and positively encourages, taking a step back from it all and slowing down – you could say it’s a great antidote to our technological age! (Though of course I realise the irony in that as #FolkloreThursday exists thanks to that very technology!) Lastly, in a way, folklore is a great leveller; you can come at it from so many different backgrounds, from academic to a casual interest with every stop in between, and it’s that general accessibility that helps keep the subject relevant and significant for people today.
What would you say to the curious still to check #FolkloreThursday out?
I’d say check out the website to get an idea of what we are about – there you can also see the tweet archive from the previous week and see the sort of things that are being retweeted throughout the day. Then I’d say come and join us on Thursdays – from 9am until 8pm GMT there will be a wide range of folklore related tweets where you can read, comment, retweet and share your own. We just hit 5,000 followers this week, and always welcome more to our number!