Comma butterfly
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Sentences of Tumblr and Twitter

Did you see this piece on Medium the other day?

I think the way language evolves is so interesting, and it’s part of what keeps my job fun. Just how far can you push alternate sentence structures or slang before they no longer make sense to readers? Especially when readers are a kind of faceless spectrum from all over the world, of all different ages. At what point do people just think it’s a mistake?

I have been seeing some of these things in novels and commentary online, and when it’s done right, I think it works well. There’s a personality behind the words. But I also think it’s difficult. Too much is overkill, not enough does look like a mistake.

On the flip side, is your Twitter voice different from longer pieces? Should they be the same or can they be different? As I think about this, I’ve realized I have a much harder time letting my voice come out in Twitter than I do in fiction writing, or even in pieces for work. While it may mean I’m just long-winded, I think Twitter feels a lot more personal yet public. And when it’s instantaneous, it’s easier to say something incorrectly. When there is time to edit, it’s easier to let personality shine. Of course, that might be an introvert thing, too.

It’s fun watching the internet change language, seeing grammar geeks arguing about the shifts and actually discussing said shifts among other grammar geeks. We’ve moved beyond LOL and the oxford comma, though that darn comma still remains a sore point for a lot of people. I wonder what the next 10 years are going to look like?

(My search on Flickr for comma displayed all these “Comma” butterflies. Who knew?)

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