My friends and I write more than we used to, often more than we talk. We correspond with each other and to colleagues, school teachers, utility companies. We send e-mails to our local newspaper reporters about their stories; we write to magazine editors to tell them what we think. And most of us do labour to write well: an e-mail to a potential romantic partner is laboriously revised and edited (no more waiting by the phone); a tweet to a prospective employer is painstakingly honed until its 140 characters convey an appropriate tone with the necessary information. A response to our supervisor’s clever status update on Facebook is written carefully, so to keep the repartee going. Concision and wit are privileged in these new forms. Who would not welcome shorter, funnier prose?
I like seeing optimistic writing about social networking. Nostalgia can be wonderful, but it can also eclipse or mislabel important contemporary minutiae in the name of posterity. Critics of Trubek’s essay might cite her decision to dismiss the problems faced with improper fact-checking and the unreliability of citizen journalists on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Her piece, though, is not meant to be a comprehensive review of social media. Although news and thoughts are now published at the click of a button, there will always be writers painstakingly analyzing word choices and references. Social media is not the downfall of the written word. I’m just saying.
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