Not that I do Twitter. I’m not sure how to tweet, or whatever the verb is, but I think it involves having a data plan on your phone if you’re going to do it right, and we are too cheap to spring for that, especially since I never go anywhere except the grocery anyway.
But I do text. And it occurred to me this morning, as I was mentally composing a text to send to DS19 away at college, that it’s a whole different ball of wax, writing-wise. I’m not even limited to 140 characters, but reading a long message on a tiny screen is unpleasant – not to mention typing it, even with predictive text – so I try to keep things brief.
There’s no font modification, so you can’t use italics. You can use all caps, and I sometimes do, but that’s really emphasizing, and it’s not always appropriate. Punctuation is limited too, at least on my numeric-pad phone – that is, unless I’m willing to open up the “special character” screen, which takes too long. The absence of an easy semicolon has caused me to start using comma splices for the first time in my life (that whirring noise you hear is Mrs. Loebenstein spinning in her grave). And omitting the final period is not just a time-saver – one less fraction of a second before I press Send – but has become a style choice as well. Messages that don’t end with a period have a different, almost haiku-like tone, and I often deliberately omit the period. I haven’t descended to using single letters “R U here yet?” but I have a friend who does, and since this woman is a professional writer, her “R U’s” function as a sort of smirk at the whole process – look at us, texting away at each other just like the young people do!
But, as with Twitter, it’s the brevity that’s the real limitation. I’m not saying it’s like writing poetry (although William Shatner’s reading of Levi Johnston’s Tweets is not to be missed) but for someone who tends to yak forever like me, it’s a real challenge to choose something, well, pithy. This morning, I’m trying to describe the college DS’s sister is considering, and I thought I’d write this:
She can choose a performance major in voice, piano, organ, or flute.
I think that about sums up the ethos of the tiny woman’s liberal arts school that for some reason DD17 has decided she is interested in. At least the ethos of their College of Music, anyway. I might add something like this:
Imagine the senior flute recitals every spring
And that’s all the Twitter musing for today.