Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Has Twitter Changed How I Write?

skdadl queried: Is Twitter affecting your writing? Are you becoming more succinct?

"No."  Was my rather succint reply.  Which is true.  I did not lie, but it is not the whole truth.

Twitter is proving to be an interesting, and addicting, medium.  When I compose a "tweet" I have to ensure that I can convey my message within 140 characters.  Many tweets have remained untweeted (probably to no one's detriment) because I couldn't find a satisfactory statement that fit within the constraints imposed. 

Many have mocked the 140 character limit, which is frustrating at times, but I choose to see it as a challenge.  Can I be clear in meaning with a short sentence?  With Twitter, what is left unsaid is often as important as what is said, and the most fun I have is when I try to craft a statement that conveys the overt and hidden meaning at the same time.  When reading tweets, a good rule of thumb is to assume the tweeter is being sarcastic.  But even then, the meaning can be amibiguous, forever unexplained, yet stored in some database for all eternity.

If I expand skdadl's question to include all of the social media sites avaialble, then my answer changes.  Blogging (and more importantly, reading blogs) has affected how I write.  I have learned much from others, have expanded by mind and opened myself to new possibilites and concepts.  But I have also been exposed to many wrting styles.  It is this ability to accurately convey meaning and intent through text on a screen that I admire.  I have dumped on my own style in the past (and I still think I am the least able writer out of everyone on my reading list there on the right), but I like to think that I am improving, in fits and starts at least.  (And no, I am not asking for a complimentary review of my writing.  I prefer to labour under the impression that it is ammateurish, it motivates me to improve.)

So I ask my readers the more general question, has social media on the 'net affected your writing?  If so how, and why?

PS skdadl followed up with "Next question: do you know how to pronounce succinct?" (I am in the sucks-sinkt camp) Which led to an amusing chat about the pronunciation of "coccyx" and "schedule."

My mother insists on saying Home DEH-pot instead of Home DEE-pot.  A European co-worker constantly referred to network routing devices as rooters instead of routers.  When I corrected him (gently) he asked how do we say "route?"  Route 66 or Root 66?  The answer of both didn't help matters, but we say "routers" when referring to network equipment.

More amusingly, I have heard more than person say "it is a mute point."  A co-worker constantly referred to Australia as "a penile colony," until I uh, berated him publicly "PENAL colony!!"  Which led to the inevitable conversation about prisoners and large cell-mates and yeah, it went downhill from there.


Ken Breadner said...

I don't think Twitter has changed the quality of your writing for better or worse, but it *has* changed the quantity. That's the only thing holding me back from joining you Twits.

Catelli said...

It has, a bit. I'm also finding less to write about. Politics has fallen off the most. How many times can you write that Stephen Harper is controlling ass-hole?

Ken Breadner said...

The answer to that, of course, is "as many times as it takes."