Monday, July 15, 2013

Is Social Media Considered a Genre of Writing?

Last Tuesday night I was watching my most favorite TV show, "So You Think You Can Dance". I normally have my computer on during that time but this particular night I decided to turn it off and just express my opinions on the show the following day to my friends.

Then the unspeakable happened. One of my favorite contestants, Jasmine Mason, got eliminated! So after the show I quickly signed back on to express my UTMOST DISTASTE about what unfolded that evening online. Here's what I did.

I started with this. This was supposed to be my Tweet about the show for the night:

Then my tweets gradually became bitter from that point:

As you can see I felt pretty passionately about this. Still do. And these don't even include my responses to other people. But there you have it. I felt so inclined to post these tweets to get my feelings out there. I feel the need to express my feelings in writing online because I want my opinions to be read. You know, with all of my tweets, I could've just written a blog post, but normally if I'm not going to dedicate a lot of analysis to it, I would just tweet it. The same with Facebook. I don't want to waste a blog post for just one paragraph of me just making a statement. So this all being said, here is the question I pose to all of you: Is social media considered a genre of writing?

This thought came to me the night of the show after these events occurred and I went to bed. I ask because it's certainly not as creative or in-depth, and a lot of times not grammatically correct because of aim speak use. Twitter, annoyingly, limits a person's tweets to only 140 characters, so for a person like myself that needs more than that, it can be frustrating. Tweets are mainly for announcements and small statements. They're also good for real time reactions. I do this with "The Bachelorette" too. As I watch I have my computer handy to make comments and my mother has made the observation that by doing this I do not enjoy the program fully, which is part of the reason why I took my computer off Tuesday night. But yet I still had the impulse to post my opinions.

This is what is happening lately with society. We want to post our thoughts on the internet for the world to see or else it feels like they don't exist if we don't. Sometimes I attach my Twitter to Facebook and my tweets land on there as well. I try to justify what I do to myself by saying that while I am job hunting for an arts and entertainment writing job, I will tweet about TV shows in the meantime. At least I'm still doing something in my potential field. However, I get concerned that people get annoyed with my updates. At my graduation celebration dinner I asked my friends Bonnie and Kelly if this annoyed them, and they both applied with a no, and Bonnie even said that people like real time reactions. I think my problem more is that I feel like not a lot of people share in my fandom of these shows and so therefore do not care about what I post. I do this to interact with others and discuss the developments of the shows. Then I constantly have to check to see if I get a "like," "favorite," "retweet," or response in order to feel like what I have to say is validated. If nobody does this, I feel like my posts don't matter and are just random things on everyone's timeline.

Or could it also be just like creative writing, prose writing, grant writing, proposal writing, business writing, screenwriting, playwriting, etc.? There are times when I go job hunting online I notice that the job description duties in the ads include social media, so it's actually important in the business world nowadays.

I just feel like although it is important, it doesn't require as much skill nor does it look as impressive. Should social media writing be held at the same level as the other writing I mentioned?

Dontae, a former contestant from my new favorite reality show "Whodunnit?", actually said on the first episode that he was a writer because he writes on Facebook and social media, so that counts.

I brought this question up at a book signing for author Linda Rawlins at the Fairfield Public Library this past Thursday night, and she said that social media does not count as writing but only as a place to announce something and share blog posts by putting the link to your actual writing. My dad who was there with me shared his opinion with me. He told me that it does count as writing because you take the time to figure out what you are going to say. This is something that crossed my mind as well when contemplating this. Social media is a place where grammar doesn't necessarily matter, but yet I personally still have to make my writing perfect because since I am a writer and have an English degree I want to lead by example. Since Twitter allows only 140 characters, you definitely put editing into practice when tweeting to fit this format, so perhaps it can help teach writers how to say something more concisely.

What are your thoughts?

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