In essence this is why I think Twitter remains interesting:
Those who insist that Twitter is made up of nothing more than trivial, self-indulgent and tedious posts simply haven’t seen it at its best. And Twitter works best when people accept that it is their job to add the layer of creativity on top of what is a very simple platform, namely SMS text messaging minus 20 characters.
Like the best tabloid headline writers and advertising copy writers, the craft lies in the ability to convey meaning and emotion in a limited space.
Continue reading; David Mitchell, Twitter and the art of 140 character storytelling
Q. What can George Orwell teach us about language and readability?
A. Quite a lot.
His 1946 essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’ is not to everybody’s taste but as guide to simple and effective writing it’s a great place to start. I’ll be using it in my Writing for the Web workshop at the Frontline Club in November and I’ve written a piece on it for Content Desk.
Among the advice Orwell offers is this:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And in the course of the 5,000+ word article, he produces not one but three numbered lists. Very now.
Read: What George Orwell Can Still Teach Us About Writing And Readability
A couple of weeks ago I appeared on the Media Focus podcast hosted by Paul Blanchard. I was on with Suzanne Franks from City University. We talked about:
– Newsnight post-Jeremy Paxman and came up with a list of obvious (and not so obvious) replacements
– Data journalism (with a little Channel 4 FactCheck nostalgia); and
– Local council freesheets
You can listen to it here (second on the list, as of posting)