On English: Twitter vs. Facebook

It’s sad that I have more friends on Twitter who can craft a complete sentence in fewer than 140 characters than on Facebook. My Facebook news feed is filled with trivial updates from people who don’t understand how to use a period properly, can’t figure out what to do with an uppercase letter, and often lack the ability to form a complete thought. The Elements of Style (yes, that’s a book) is your friend.

22 Responses

  1. Dion Hulse
    Dion Hulse Published |

    I’ve thought the same before.. And I hardly use twitter.

    My reasoning? People are forced to actually think about what they’re saying when they write a tweet or SMS, even if they drop vowels to make it fit the length, they still think about what it is they’re trying to say..

  2. david
    david Published |

    There was tweet going around a few months ago to the effect of: Facebook makes me hate the people I know, Twitter makes me love people I’ve never met. This is unquestionably part of the reason.

    1. tim king
      tim king Published |

      Hahaha, that’s great. Couldn’t agree more.

  3. Thord Daniel Hedengren
    Thord Daniel Hedengren Published |

    The Elements of Style is not only a book, it’s THE book on writing English. I’m glad I’m not seeing the same trends in my Twitter/Facebook feeds. Yet…

  4. Catherine Azzarello
    Catherine Azzarello Published |

    My sentiments, exactly!

  5. paul
    paul Published |

    Is there a fan page for the Hybrid framework on Facebook?

  6. Jenn
    Jenn Published |

    By the way, what edition do you use?
    Is the first edition enough? Or is the fourth edition much better? Thanks.

  7. John Moore Williams
    John Moore Williams Published |

    I don’t participate on Twitter, but I work as an editor for a living and am fairly active on Facebook. In most cases the grammatical issues I note there don’t bother me all that much, except when they genuinely interfere with communication, mostly because I regard Facebook as a forum for relaxed social engagement. If grammatical errors in similar forums, such as when hanging out with friends, drove me crazy, I’d probably have shot myself years ago.

    Here’s a great article on The Elements of Style, btw: http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497

  8. Ed Love
    Ed Love Published |

    I’m sooooooo delighted to read this conversation … in America 🙂

  9. Jim
    Jim Published |

    As I understand it, Erasmus, a scholar in the 16th century use to give his students the exercise to write 150 different ways to open a letter; basically to communicate hello, I’m fine, how are you?

    I’m constantly amazed at the number of people, adults and children, who answer a question with one or two words. A complete thought has a subject and a compliment. You say WHAT you are talking about and then you say SOMETHING ABOUT it. But too many barely tell us their subject, let alone venture to say anything about it. You have to painfully drag it out of them, if you feel like it.

    I’ve assumed that school has beat out of people the ability to converse because in school, only the RIGHT answer is acceptable, so eventually people simply test the waters with a word or two and then shrink back if they don’t sense they are being immediately accepted. Maybe there are other reasons. That’s just been my assumption.

  10. tim king
    tim king Published |

    At first I used to really get irritated with the poorly formed sentences, the emotional quotes subtly put on the status to catch attention, and the mundane. Now, with all the internet marketing promotion, and other businesses promoting their product, I feel like my page is a little “less” genuine. Would like a few more ghetto friends. Would like a few more emotional status updates. Would like to know that yogurtland is the bomb.

    Great little piece here, looking forward to more of your posts.

  11. Andrea
    Andrea Published |

    I feel the same way about Facebook! I cringe when I see the way my daughter misspells words or uses single letters for words , because she’s on some of my friends’ Facebook lists, and I don’t want them to think that this is the best she can do! She thinks it doesn’t matter, because she’s just talking to her friends, but I think it’s a bad habit that becomes part of your everyday writing.

  12. Kev
    Kev Published |

    I’m the same way on my Facebook profile also. What I don’t understand is some people will use abbreviations for words in 3 letters or 2 letters etc.. Why not just spell out the word? Doesn’t take but a milli-second longer to do. Then I don’t have to ask “what are you talking about?” Its like I have to go back to school to learn how to use Facebook.

  13. Georgia
    Georgia Published |

    Twitter FTW! Everyone on Facebook seems to be retarded.

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