Student guest post: Hold alphabet soup, return wit to Twitter

Students in J457, Advanced Editing, are writing guest posts for this blog this semester. This is the 13th of those posts. Chris Moore is a sophomore journalism major from Cary, N.C. He writes on the sports desk of The Daily Tar Heel and can be seen being “taught how to Dougie” in Chapel Hill.

Twitter is great.

Ever since I created my Twitter account, I’ve become mildly obsessed. It amazes me how quickly news can break and thoughts can spread — all in 140 characters or less. But it’s just that, the 140-character limit, that makes the website fascinating, yet terribly frustrating at the same time.

I have seen Tweets that are truly great examples of creative writing. They feature entire thoughts and a well-made argument, all packed into little more than 25 words.

It’s exciting to me, as a writer, to see how some people are able to carefully navigate the English language and produce a coherent thought that is short and sweet. It’s fun. And in a way it is rekindling a lost art.

Shakespeare once penned, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” What he was saying is that the best way to deliver a point is through few carefully chosen words in which each one packs a punch.

But it’s rare to see that writing today. That’s the best thing about Twitter — it provides the perfect avenue to bring it back.

Yet that doesn’t happen. Instead, people find ways to cheat their words and drop their grammar in order to say more. We get “alphabet soup” Tweets with endless abbreviations and words without any vowels, like this one by a UNC-Chapel Hill student. That’s how we end up adding the likes of “OMG” and “LOL” to our dictionary. A lot of times we don’t even get a verb in our Tweets.

To me, this is a cop-out. It ruins the potential Twitter has to restore wittiness back into our lives.

So I challenge every Tweeter out there. Don’t skirt around the 140-character limit. Embrace the challenge. #WriteBetter.