Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is Twitter ruining language?

Developing technologies don't crawl. They tend to leap one giant step after another. Social media isn't an exception; a few years ago many saw making friends online with skepticism. Today, everyone except my mom are on Facebook.

I generally think change is good; it forces new ideas and new ways of doing things. Twitter... I'm not sure. 

Twitter was originally started in 2006 and has always imposed a message length of 140 characters. Why? Well, it was intended to work over SMS on cell phones, and a standard length SMS has a length of 160 characters. Twitter reserved 20 for itself, and let users play with the remaining 140.

Some people think this is great. I've read many times, "If you can't say it in 140 characters, say it somewhere else." I recently read a blog post where the writer spoke about "The simplistic beauty of Twitter." 

Sure, we get brief updates and share links. Great. Does anyone really care about the links? 

I guess. According to statisticbrain.com Twitter has 554,750,000 users. Around 135,000 new users sign up every day. Of all these people, around 115 million are active each month, and send out 58 million tweets per day.

I am personally on Twitter because I have to, and I almost only use it to tweet other people's blog posts from Triberr. Isn't that sad?

I follow over 3,000 people on Twitter, and have over 3,000 followers. Some of them tweet my stuff, egotistical as I am, I love that, of course.

Of all these Tweeps there are a handful whose tweets I enjoy. Most who tweet me just say, "Buy my book." "Did u buy my book yet." "Hey, did u see my book?" "My book is on sale 2day." "Did u dwnld my book yet?" Really? Is there nothing else you want to talk about? Anyway, I won't buy it until you use real words.

Some ignore the 140 character limit and write enough for a short story, spacing it out over 40 tweets or more. It's not a good idea; it's pretty annoying. Write an e-mail instead.

So, why don't I like Twitter? Well, the 140 character limit makes Twitter unique, no doubt about it. It also leads to completely incomprehensible abbreviations, and people start mangling their language on Twitter and never stop. 

Maybe I'm old, but I require words. Messages like "How R U 2DY, WRUU2" just don't do it for me. Especially not when people leave Twitter, sit down by a computer and write the same incomprehensible gibberish in an e-mail. That message, by the way, is supposed to mean, "How are you today, what are you up to" - and it took me hours to figure it out. 

I recently learned the abbreviation #ASMSG means "Authors Social Media Support Group." I couldn't figure that out for myself. I assumed it meant something really dirty. Guess I have a dirty mind... LOL

Anyway, I dislike when people write U instead of you. It's normal to many people, but in my eyes it looks so bad. Especially in e-mails. If you think I'm worth the time and effort of an e-mail, I should also be worth the time and effort of real words.

Now, I'm not complaining over people writing on their phones and tablets. These are completely valid reasons for abbreviating, but when you're sitting by a computer, come on! It takes a split second longer to write You than U. 

I think Twitter language will carry over to more areas of real life. Soon we'll see novels along the lines of "I thnk U are 2 #sexy 4 #designer #clothes #naked" It will make complete sense to the Twitter generation. People like me run a definite risk of being left behind.

4 comments:

  1. I saw the link to your blog on Twitter. ;) I've been having similar thoughts about a "twitterized" language as well. I anticipate my kids reading your "I thnk U are 2 #sexy 4 #designer #clothes #naked" novel as smoothly as I read real sentences. I'm shaking my head at the thought.

    And thanks for shining a light on the #ASMSG. I had no idea what that meant and had yet to look it up!

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  2. Thank you for coming over! =D

    The #ASMSG is kinda funny; I assumed it meant something really dirty and I've been worried about re-tweeting it in case I'd make people angry. Guess that says a lot about my imagination, hahaha.

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  3. Hi, Maria! I admit some of the things on Twitter I can't figure out, but I like it because it's a simple way of communicating. By contrast, I just can't wrap my head around Facebook...probably because it involves so much of my time. On Twitter it's easier for me to have conversations.

    I agree that some of the abbreviations leave me scratching my head though. That 140 character limit really does box users in!

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    1. Hi and thank you for visiting! =D

      Twitter is fast and easy. It's the 140 character limit that makes it weird to me. I guess Twitter wouldn't be Twitter if people were allowed to write longer, but I spend too much time trying to figure out what someone wanted to say. I'm like, "C'mon, I'm old, I need words. Can't you at least give me a clue?" Hahaha!

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