Why I’m Not On Twitter   Leave a comment

A Personal Preference for the English Language (not “a prsnl prfrns 4 English”)

November 24, 2013

Reading the Washington Post and New York Times this morning it didn’t take long for me to get pissed off. Seeing the quote of a United States Senator—attributed to his Twitter account—I knew instinctively that I needed to express my displeasure for Twitter and its tweets as a means of communication, and for so many of those who tweet in lieu of any real-language communication.  In my opinion, the tweet’s accepted and required misuse of the English language is simply lazy shorthand for many people. Politicians, rock stars, athletes, and movie stars alike tell us so many important details about their lives.  “I had time to get a manicure and pedicure for the first time in 2 months this is exciting.” That nugget from Lady Gaga just 17 hours ago. She’s right. Wow. That is exciting. And it’s representative of the vast majority of the dribble found on Twitter.

Snarky politicians (is that redundant?) appear to put far more time into tweeting than into any reasoned debate about the budget, healthcare, or foreign policy. Consider the august senator from Texas, John Cornyn. Here’s a tweet he sent at 7:15pm last evening after the announcement of a potential deal to limit or eliminate Iran’s development of nuclear weapons: “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care”. Remember, we’re talking about Iran, the country the USA has not had a formal relationship with since 1979, the country that supports much of the chaos in the Middle East, and the country that is a major player in the world energy market. Take a deep breath Senator. The American government, under Republican and Democratic administrations, has had back-channel conversations with Iran for years attempting to bring them back into the dialog among nations. Late yesterday we were informed that Secretary Kerry, his counterparts from other nations, and Iran took a major step: “The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade“. With the importance of this first step, all the Texas senator could contribute is about 50 characters in a tweet tying the diplomatic efforts with Iran to the Affordable Care Act. While I could write more about Cornyn’s ignorance, or Lady Gaga’s nail care, I’ll stay on point. Twitter makes it easy to communicate, but it’s only the worst aspect of communications. “I’m going to Dinner at the Palm tonight”, followed by “I’m at the Palm”, followed by “I just got seated at my table”, followed by “My guests haven’t arrived so I’ll visit the toilet.” (Or in Twitterese, “no-1 here, Time to P B4 they show up”.)

Screen Shot CornynTwitter has become the 21st-century repository of useless information, and the hi-tech enabler of the childish retort, the playground comeback, the instant put-down. Twitter is today’s Fountain of You, as in  “Says who?”, “Sez you”, or “Fuck you”.  It is, obviously, the conveyer of the world’s most useless information. The communicative process is in danger. Perhaps it’s good that William Safire is dead. If he was alive today, even healthy at 83 years of age, the dismantling of the language would kill him. Stop tweeting. Start talking. Write a letter. Call someone on the phone. Reclaim your language.


Posted November 24, 2013 by Jazzdavid in Uncategorized

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