To Tweet is to Edit?

By Susan Doron

         A few nights ago, I heard a commentator on television claim that Tweeting actually makes us more concise and articulate writers.  I normally tweet with disdain and laughter whenever Twitter is mentioned, but this remark made me stop and think (well, I can’t chew gum and think at the same time, can I?).

          My opinions on Twitter are happily unencumbered by any actual experience of it, but after intense research on Wikipedia, I do understand that Twitter is, “… an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”.[1]  Even I can understand that tweets don’t allow for much discussion or elaboration.

        Perhaps one could consider tweets the textual equivalents of sound bites: short, simplified ways of getting across a message.   Like a sound bite, a tweet forces the writer to cut unnecessary verbiage and clarify a point as concisely as possible.  A tweet’s writer customizes the tweet to meet the expectations of the identified audience, thus making an impact as quickly and directly as possible.  Even within the constraints of 140 characters, the tweeterer (twitterer?) can maintain a personal voice, whether serious, humorous, cynical, infantile or a myriad of other tones.

         The work of composing a tweet bears much resemblance to that of an editor: identifying the reader and relaying a message to that reader as concisely and effectively as possible while maintaining the integrity of the writer’s intent and voice. If a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps a tweet is worth a thousand editors?

1 Comment

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  1. Liz

    I’ve been using twitter since 2007. It fills empty time, helps me meet new contacts, gets me involved in fascinating discussions, serves as a mini-journal for tiny memories I’d like to keep somewhere, and most of all, it allows me to test snippets of writing that I can use as prompts or pull out for inspiration one day.

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