Thursday, September 19, 2013

Social media and long form writing

Social media has been heralded as the ‘next big thing’ of the 21st century. It is the greatest event to have happened to humanity since we tamed the moon in 1969. Facebook and twitter, to name a few ‘hot’ social media sites, have the potential to bring people together like never before. Social media will herald the next revolutions of the world, so they say.

Social media has the ability to connect people. This argument cannot be denied. There is no challenge to it in this domain. Facebook and twitter allow people to update their ‘status’ or tell others what they are doing, watching, eating, drinking, etc.However, we need to be cautious about an insidious strand of social media which is fast trending (Pun intended).

But both of them glorify brevity. Twitter doesn't even allow more than 140 characters!

This habit of being extremely precise has the capability of curtailing long form writing. While earlier, a movie review would demand a full blog post, today, a simple status update or a tweet is enough to announce the verdict. A critical review of a novel is being reduced to a simple ‘boring book’ status. In fact, where one is posting the status or tweet from has become an added and un-ignorable dimension. ‘Sent from my iphone’, ‘sent from my blackberry’, ‘sent using the stylus of Galaxy Note 2’, etc. are becoming the cool add-ons. The means are becoming more important than the ends! The end goal of writing a long, descriptive and analytic piece is being replaced by the goal of telling the brand of the smartphone one owns and the ability of one’s status or tweet to be as ‘eye-catching’ as possible.

Where does this lead us to? Is this simply a cribbing about the good old days or are we witness to manifestation of a new and completely alien form of medium of interaction unknown to the previous generation? We need to put this question to the world to understand this complex idea. Please put this as your Facebook status or tweet it to generate the next big revolution.

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