Friday, September 2, 2011

Social Media

I tend to think about social media in all the ways it helps connect people but then I tried to write a tweet yesterday that was FAR too long. do I say what I want to convey but in less words?

This got me thinking about all the other things that social media can help us do, namely become better writers. Though mediums like Twitter we're forced to use only those words that are absolutely necessary because space is limited. As many writers know, sometimes it's harder to write something in less words than it is to say it in many. But that's editing.

Editing requires that we choose only those words that are absolutely necessary to the message. I have to do this all the time at work when we're creating tag lines because by nature a tag line is one simple, short, to the point sentence or simply a phrase but which must convey an entire organization and what they do, what they stand for, in short, who they are. That's a lot to ask. But whether cognizant of it or not we are becoming, I believe, better editors because of the restrictions these (especially Twitter) mediums create.

When it comes to blogging, it's a fabulous exercise. For starters, since my blog often discusses writing/reading/bibliophile information it forces me to consider what is or isn't working about either my writing or someone else's. It also encourages me to become a more active reader and ask questions like, why am drawn to this kind of writing or I soared through that book, what mechanisms did they use to create that kind of fast pacing?

Writers are also told to write, that it's like any other exercise, you need to do it to be good at it and a blog creates an obligation to do that at least a few times a week when you might not otherwise. In this way, social media is making us better writers.

We also have to think and plan what we're going to post, perhaps it's strategic or even marketing a particular book that's coming out or maybe it's just figuring out how to synthesize an idea into words. Either way, social media is changing us and I believe in many ways it's for a more informed, collaborative, and writerly community.

What do you think? Is social media making us better and more informed? Do you feel more connected because of social media?

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