Another reason why…

…I’m a Betamax man.

In a word, Twitter.

First, take a look at this article on Gawker.

I think most people would take one of two positions on the matter; for or against.

Me, I’m in complete agreement with the article above.

In a world of internet compression, where you can zip an entire movie, multiple soundtracks, angles, extra features all onto one disc, why the arbitrary word limit of 140 characters for a Twitter post?

This has had an interesting effect on language, including the aforementioned hashtag. Another feature of this “Twitterspeak” is leaving the subject off the beginning of sentences. For example, “Had dinner. Very good.” would replace, “I had dinner. It was very good.”

This is added to previous short-message-related changes, such as abbreviations like “u” for “you” and “l8” for “late.”

As someone who has put considerable effort into becoming a passable writer (how passable depends on the you, kind reader) I find myself annoyed by these developments.  I can’t work myself up to anger yet, however. I realize that language is an organic, ever-changing thing.

It shows my age where I see these changes, and know that my place in the great information society is no longer at the vanguard of the tech-savvy.

Not that it will keep from at least trying to keep up, a little at least.

That reminds me, I should see if my Twitter account is still active…


6 comments on “Another reason why…

  1. TeeJus says:

    I can run with what you’re saying but I reckon it goes back way before the hashtag. Basically anything that postdates pen and paper from text messages to emails. Still irritates me when I get emails from colleagues and they say “pls” and other such nonsense in professional emails. Not as bothered when it’s personal, but when it’s stuff that goes on file it’s a different story.

    But yeah, I personally spell things correctly on twitter (typos and such notwithstanding obviously) including hashtags. None of this “u” or “l8” business. Don’t find it too difficult and I find it good practice to do so.

    • betamaxman says:

      I’m with you, Tom. I find a lot of people who use abbreviations don’t write long posts anyways. It doesn’t really save you that much time. Again, like Zach said, it depends on what you expect. At work, I actually don’t receive many emails in English, so I’m spared from the worst. 🙂

      Abbreviations don’t bug me in personal communications, but I wouldn’t accept it at all in anything professional.

  2. I think twitter is very good for advertisers and people who want to be advertised to. Kind of like how myspace became for musicians. I use twitter for finding specific niche things I’m looking for – like a particular job, or information on a niche game. Otherwise I very rarely put anything on it and would only consider it to advertise something and even then, it would probably take daily effort to do so, so perhaps an ongoing project. Everything else is blogworthy and daily interaction is for Facebook and G+. In short I think twitter is a bit niche.

  3. I disagree with assessment that hashtags are bad, overused perhaps, but not bad. I feel this way because I don’t expect “high writing” from twitter and most other social media. Twitter’s 140 character limit implies too much speed and simplicity for me to expect more. In addition to that, there is no barrier to entry, so it’s almost as if we have the infinite number of monkeys scenario.

    This isn’t to say twitter isn’t capable of “high writing”, people write books on the damn thing, but I just don’t expect more.

    As for the omission of the letter I in tweets, sometimes I’ll just read it as “Twitter user had dinner” I read the second “sentence” just like you, “It was very good.” The omission could be an issue if people are no longer able to think of an implied subject though. I hope that day never comes though.

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