There are lots of people who like to bemoan the e-generation. The most common gripe is how facebook and its ilk are killing actual connection, replacing intimacy with machinery, and ruining the brains of our youth.
Obviously, I realize my bias, sitting here in front of my laptop, with a mug of hot cocoa, working on my regularly scheduled blog post, flitting between Twitter and Facebook to check in on the goings-on of my buddies.
Here’s the thing: I updated my status on facebook, then went to Twitter to paste the same text. It was 60 characters over. So what did I do? I edited the crap out of it. I whittled a fun little statement of 200 characters down to the 140 max allowed on Twitter. In doing so, I got rid of the extra, meaningless words that I tend to love. I chose simpler, more direct words. I got rid of some redundancies. The result was that my tweet was much more powerful and easy to read that my facebook update. That’s the power of editing in action, people.
What’s more? Have any of you noticed how much more you write now than you did before cellphones and computers? Nearly all our communications are now text based. Before, when, to plan a party, you needed to call all your buddies and coordinate verbally, now, you can send an email, create a facebook event, or text. Yes, the words we use are simpler and shorter by necessity, but isn’t that generally considered a good thing in writing? Aren’t we told, don’t use a 5 dollar word when a 5 cent one will suffice?
These days, when I want to see friends, I send out something that has to be witty, interesting, and brief. I have to convey my excitement, my eagerness to see them, and my plans for the time we spend all in writing. I am marketing myself to my buddies all the time now. I hone my writing to make sure my friends spend the requisite time reading it.
And when we do see each other? We are able to jump right into the conversation because we’ve been keeping abreast of the goings-on of each others’ lives via facebook and twitter.
I, for one, welcome our technology overlords. Maybe they’ll teach me brevity someday. If I’m lucky. Or something.