If you think ab…

If you think about it, a hashtag is almost a Newspeak word, being a reductive, concertinaed composite that is meant to almost summarise a subject or an attitude. And think about your own Social Media conversations; how often have you had to edit down or summarise an intended post, just so it would fit in the allotted space? And having edited that post, how satisfied were you with the final version? Did you have mild pangs at the rough crudity of what you posted, and what you lost from the original draft? I know I have.


Original source


Here is a view that is contrary to the thesis of my project which I find interesting to look at.  Since critical thinking is always required in ones research,  I like to look at different views to make sure I get all the perspectives I need.  This article appears to me to be more opinionated than research based however, since the phenomena it claims is not necessary backed up by numbers, but simply ones opinion of the change in the new information age.

George Orwell’s Rules of a Good Writing

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


According to these rules of George Orwell,  these rules seem to apply to the composition of social media language, which is succint and straight to the point and use as little words as possible, completely sincere and fluff-free most of the time.

Studies by Kevi…

Studies by Kevin Sharpe, Lisa Jardine, and Anthony Grafton have proven that humanists in …the 16th and 17th centuries often read discontinuously, searching for passages that could be used in the cut and thrust of rhetorical battles at court, or for nuggets of wisdom that could be copied into commonplace books and consulted out of context.

–5 Myths about the information age

Here, by using history, the author points out that it is always in our nature to jump around to get to the information we need.  This is a good quote to use against Lanham’s satirical criticism of how it seems like social media has made a huge block of text hard to digest for us.

Writing for Non…

Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.


Even though satirical; Lanham points out that the “short-form“ writing style that is often seen on social media has a different purpose than to be printed on paper.  Form follows function, is one of the very fundamental principle of design, which I think could apply to anything that serves a purpose.  Ends justify means, so the new form of English composition is merely a tool created for the new mode of communication.

Social Media Images form a New Language Online

Social Media Images form a New Language Online

Here is a good one to look at in terms of changes in “modes of communication”.  Communication, facilitated by the creation of smart devices, is no longer limited to texts.  Pictures and videos make even better tools for communication.   A picture, or a video, tells a story that is much more straight forward and less prone to create different interpretations as compare to a block of narrative.

Without an illu…

Without an illustration, chart, or embedded YouTube video to ease them in, millions were frozen in place, terrified by the sight of one long, unbroken string of English words.

–the Onion

Here is a good quote from the Onion, picturing the popular trend that a block of text is terrifying.  I experience too and I was never sure if it was something that it was something personal.  I think this project gives me a chance to look into this phenomena and explore its causes.

Books used to b…

Books used to be written for the general reader; now they are written by the general reader.

–Robert Darnton

Here Darnton points out that, ever since the emergence of the internet, the number of writers have increased from the chosen few to almost everyone that owns a laptop.  Therefore, just judging from the way language is composed online is not sufficient to say that “language is declining”.  More in depth analysis is needed to prove that.

…tweets glimm…

…tweets glimmer with a complete lack of forethought, their Facebook updates ring with self-importance, and their blog entries shimmer with literary pithiness.

–Robert Lanham

Here Lanham laughs at how writing on these “social” network are meaningless, shallow, and pitiful.  As true as that might be, the writing itself is true to self, because it is exactly what it should be on such thing as “social” network.   Facebook is so popular because it is a projected persona for an individual, and he and she is free to create a self-image, what they want the world to see, on such platform.