#writing

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - By: Clayton Johnston

I worry that social media will inevitably destroy the art of writing.

I suppose we have always looked for shortcuts when expressing ourselves through words; faster is easier. How long have we put “xoxo” instead of ‘hugs and kisses’ at the bottom of letters? Why waste time when you can get the point across quickly? It is like asking someone what a two-hour movie was about and getting a couple of sentences of description in return: “Boy meets girl. He dies.  She marries someone else and has to win over the new guy’s kids”. Why go see the movie after that? Short, sweet, informative and it saves you two hours.

Facebook is bad enough. News items undoubtedly appear on your wall with a picture and a statement. Typically it is something as banal as a picture of a chicken salad and a statement like: “Loving my lunch with Nick today!” (with the inevitable heart icon added).  Wow.  Exciting stuff, really.  At least with Twitter we are forced to be creative within the framework of 140 characters. It almost demands that we pre-plan our missives.

Snapchat is intolerable. Do something meaningless like send someone a picture and then make it disappear as if there was no purpose for it in the first place…. Gee, what a concept.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media for what it is: the ability to share tidbits of information quickly and to connect with people.  In a school like ours, it allows parents and students to keep abreast of what is happening on campus. Despite the abundance of social media choices, texting is still the bomb. Nothing is better at the jungle telegraph than a teen with a mobile device. If something has happened, everyone knows instantaneously. Game over.

So, @peoplereadingthis, I hope you will agree. Though writing may appear to be a dying art, I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I see so many of our students curled up with a book. People still want to allow themselves to be slowly and deeply sucked into a story. They want to embrace a tantalizing plot. They seek to dive into another world where characters develop and ferment, where complex and unpredictable relationships take time to explore. Good writing will always be appreciated. There is #hope.

I worry that social media will inevitably destroy the art of writing.

I suppose we have always looked for shortcuts when expressing ourselves through words; faster is easier. How long have we put “xoxo” instead of ‘hugs and kisses’ at the bottom of letters? Why waste time when you can get the point across quickly? It is like asking someone what a two-hour movie was about and getting a couple of sentences of description in return: “Boy meets girl. He dies.  She marries someone else and has to win over the new guy’s kids”. Why go see the movie after that? Short, sweet, informative and it saves you two hours.

Facebook is bad enough. News items undoubtedly appear on your wall with a picture and a statement. Typically it is something as banal as a picture of a chicken salad and a statement like: “Loving my lunch with Nick today!” (with the inevitable heart icon added).  Wow.  Exciting stuff, really.  At least with Twitter we are forced to be creative within the framework of 140 characters. It almost demands that we pre-plan our missives.

Snapchat is intolerable. Do something meaningless like send someone a picture and then make it disappear as if there was no purpose for it in the first place…. Gee, what a concept.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media for what it is: the ability to share tidbits of information quickly and to connect with people.  In a school like ours, it allows parents and students to keep abreast of what is happening on campus. Despite the abundance of social media choices, texting is still the bomb. Nothing is better at the jungle telegraph than a teen with a mobile device. If something has happened, everyone knows instantaneously. Game over.

So, @peoplereadingthis, I hope you will agree. Though writing may appear to be a dying art, I still get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I see so many of our students curled up with a book. People still want to allow themselves to be slowly and deeply sucked into a story. They want to embrace a tantalizing plot. They seek to dive into another world where characters develop and ferment, where complex and unpredictable relationships take time to explore. Good writing will always be appreciated. There is #hope.

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