Tuesday, January 6, 2009

English Language: How Social Media Can Actually Help Your Writing

How many social media sites do you actively participate in? Just about everyone I know is on Facebook. And Twitter is becoming more and more popular as well. These types of sites are changing the way we communicate with others, as well as how we write and speak.

The status update is an interesting element of these communications. Assuming you don't fall victim to crazy abbreviations like "C U L8er," writing status updates can actually be a great exercise in creative and concise communication. You can't ramble on and on about the latest film you saw. Instead you have to give a quick and concise review in 140 characters or less. That's not easy.

A friend of mine recently wrote on his status update: "Still thinking about The Last King of Scotland, which was on TV last night. Great film!" Although "great film" might be a bit broad, the fact that he was still thinking about the film showed that it had effected him in some way. I was suddenly intrigued and wondered what the film was like. Was is sad? Disturbing? Really exciting? Without saying anything specific about the movie, he was still able to communicate his reaction to the movie in an interesting way.

Another friend wrote today that she "loves her new bamboo sheets and wishes she could have spent more time in them last night." She could have just written, "I'm tired today and want to go back to bed." But she found an interesting way of expressing that thought.

When you write status updates they force you to use a concise vocabulary and really say what you mean. You don't have room for long explanations, so words need to be used appropriately. When your space is limited, you also need to be creative in how you approach what you want to say.

Think what our world would be like if we approached all forms of communication in this way! Sometimes we could use a bit more simplicity in our lives!

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