RE: The Demise of the English Language In 140 Characters Or Less Part II

September 27, 2012

FYI: If every post I wrote was like this I’d be known as a robot writer. A mix of conciseness and entertainment is what makes good articles.

And I hope that I don’t come across as narcissistic… I think I do, and if I’m right I’m sorry. I know I have a lot to learn as a writer.

I published an article almost a year ago called RE: The Demise Of The English Language In 140 Characters Or Less and it needs an update.

My original article was a response to another one which had implied — in a very roundabout way — that character limits damage writing.

The author of the original article which I rebutted focused on how character limits lead to shortened, ugly, F-worthy words. Lyk srsly.

I disagreed because I viewed that my writing had improved, that I learned how to be concise, that Twitter conditioned me to be direct.

A lot of people do take shortcuts to fill more content in a character limited tweet/txt message. But from what I’ve seen, it’s just a phase.

As people age and mature they realize how dumb they look writing using shortened words. I think that we’d be lying if we said we never did.

The best thing about character limits is what they force us to do. We can’t be lazy, we can’t drone on and on, we have to learn and adapt.

Twitter teaches us to write to an audience. People react in one way or another to tweets; Boredom, anger, joy. We learn what language works.

If the posts you write are large and fluff filled, you’ll lose your audience. But the more points you can get in, the less holes you have.

If you can coherently and successfully make a point in 25ish words, you’re an effective writer. Imagine 24 points in a 600 word article?

When there’s so much information out there, conciseness is great as readers have more time to learn more from people who write concisely.

Before I go on I need to make it clear: I’m not advocating not reiterating. I’m saying that character limits teach effective use of space.

This article is reiteration itself. Each “paragraph” is a unique point and most can be rearranged. They compliment each other to fill holes.

Obviously if being overly assertive detracts from your argument, you shouldn’t do it. But being skilled in conciseness can kill opposition.

Few articles should be written with 1 point per 25 words as a rule. No matter how persuasive, they’ll be dull. Entertainment is needed too.

Does Twitter suck for conditioning us to not be entertaining? No. A) We still learn outside of Twitter. B) Not everything is an argument.

One of Twitter’s benefits is how easy it is to write. Even if you tweet about sandwiches, each tweet gains you experience in writing.

If we go off Yahoo! Answers and assume that 1 book is 80,000 words, with 20,635 tweets I’ve likely written 5 to 6 books worth of tweets.

Many of my friends have written 100k+ tweets. They’re the best writers I know. The more you write, the better you get regardless of medium.

I won’t say my writer friends would suck without Twitter. But I know I would. Read my archives. The more I tweeted the better my posts were.

As always, to get Twitter’s benefits you need to use it regularly, every day, and want its benefits. They don’t come on a silver platter.

Character limits teach us to be more direct and to the point, and publishing concise arguments often makes us better writers. Demise my bum.

Believe it or not, this article’s “paragraphs” are published in a completely different order than they were written. Independence rocks.

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