Monday, 8 August 2011

Cutting down on the wind

I’m new to this social networking stuff and at first  felt a little inferior when I realised I didn’t understand a lot of the lingo, particularly the abbreviations of other Twitter  users in order they fit their tweets into the standard 140 characters. Looking back, I was being unfair not only to them but to me—such are the demands I make upon myself, If I don’t figure something out in 10 seconds flat, it means I must be a moron.  Anyway, since I enjoy airing my opinions with the world, (whether the world wants to hear them or not), I persevered and  began to get a handle on  the  methods of cutting down on characters,  that are a necessary tool if you want to get   messages heard by your social network.  (It is possible now to extend the 140 characters but I for one, got  sold on the original concept and strive  to make my messages as lucid as they can be.)

 I should take this opportunity to apologise for my elitism when I began to use Twitter. I did have a hold-nosing reaction to the cut-down words at first: it was like ‘My God, it’s George Orwell’s Newspeak!’ or ‘Oh doubleplusgood hey Winston!’  Snide of me, I know.  After 3000 odd tweets, all I can do is  plead ignorance and state  I had no idea what I was thinking. It was  unfair of me to be so judgmental.  The fact is I’m a personality who hates being on the outside looking in and I  finally managed to understand Twitter’s unique language in order that I can understand my followers and have them understand me.

But I’m also very stubborn. This has less to do with Twitter language, and more to do with the wavy lines I get under the text I enter , when using  MS Word to create a document.  You know those wavy lines of different colours to denote if you’re making a spelling mistake? Or your grammar isn’t correct? Or  in my case ‘your sentences are going on far too long and you need to either shut up or consider revising’? I have been coping with these automatic wavy lines since I got a hold of my first laptop two years ago,  but  not really succeeding at it.

Okay. You’re writing something – you get some wavy lines – you right-click on the text with the wavy lines. A menu comes onto the screen with options.  The question is, do you take the computer’s advice and change your work? Or do you ignore it and carry on?

 I have to admit I may need to check my spelling, so when I’m insecure with  a word (like supercalifragistic) I am grateful for the advice. I know I’m  not perfect and this is when the wavy lines are useful. ( I would like a siren to go off, but that’s another story. )

 Let’s say my spelling is OK.  What I do, then, when my sentences are too long is logical: I add the missing punctuation because I do know how…wordy I can be. Or I click on Ignore Once and the wavy line goes away.  Aside from being too windy, the rest of my grammar must be correct because the only message I get is that ‘your sentences are far too windy.’

  After two years,  I admit I still resent being told that. I think the computer’s  got a nerve telling me that. If I’m not allowed to be windy in public and can’t do it in private, where AM I allowed to be windy??? I didn’t think there will be a solution to this problem in the near future.  But there was.

I have started my own blog and can be windy if I want to. But as a compromise and  because I enjoy using Twitter, I want to utilise the things it has taught me. And try to go easy on the wind.

One more point: I am going to see what  happens when I spell clout with a ‘k’. Let’s see: k-l-o-u-t: klout.There is no such word. Click to bring up the Thesaurus: Spelling alternatives:  Search for any of the following:


  This proves I am correct in spelling ‘clout’ with a ‘c’ instead of a ‘k’. Word is on my side!

 People on Twitter are welcome to use the ‘k’ as I believe  they are talking about an application that measures  how influential their accounts may be.  And good luck to them.

Me? I’ll stick to the ‘c’.

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