Friday, August 27, 2010

Twittering Down

Lately I have been twittering. I must say, writing tweets of 140 characters of less is a useful exercise in brevity.

As you type in your tweet, the screen automatically tells you how many characters you have to go(140 are allowed), and you begin to slice, cut, and eliminate words, or look for short words to replace the long.

I’m reminded of E.B. White’s sage advice in his classic little book, The Elements of Style (1971).

“Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should contain no unnecessary lines or a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all of his sentences short, or that he avoid all details or treat his subjects in outline, but that every work tell.”

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