Twitter isn't for everyone. There are those who avoid the social media platform, and will probably never use it for reasons that have nothing to do with age. This week's collection of stories about writing features a thorough breakdown of the attitudes behind people who use Twitter, and the people who avoid it.
Also, not everything's a grammatical error, Beverly Cleary's thrifty writing style, what writers can learn from Don Draper's iPhone, and adventures with magazine editors. Here’s the Week in Writing:
The culture of tweeting.
This piece from n+1 magazine breaks down the science of tweeting and the attitude of the tweeter, as well as those who decide to stay on the sidelines. To the folks at n+1
, Twitter is a “scrolling suicide note of Western civilization.” The piece does a better job than most articles about Twitter at exposing the service for its worst values (self-importance) while simultaneously highlighting its best (democratized expression). According to the writers, Twitter tends “toward the essential but also the superfluous, the concise but also the verbose.” Read the essay here
The difference between style and grammar.
A period outside quotation marks isn't wrong. It's just not the accepted style in American writing. The Grammar Monkeys at the Wichita Eagle
run through some reminders in this piece of what grammar is and is not. They've also included a handy rundown of some of the most used style guides, including Yahoo's
, for online content. “The important thing to remember is that many aspects of written language are determined by style, not grammar—and just because something diverges from a particular style does not mean it’s wrong.” Read the post here
More soon: Electronic correspondence with magazine editors.
On The Millions
website, novelist Randy Boyagoda shares a three-month email exchange he may one day have with a magazine editor. If you're a freelance writer, you can likely relate with the weeks-long gaps between hearing any news, and even when you do, not really getting any answers about acceptance, publication dates, and payment. Read the post here
Beverly Cleary’s writing roots.
In The Oregonian
, novelist Anna Keesey writes how children's writer Beverly Cleary, an Oregon native, adopted a writing style that fit with her upbringing during the great depression. Cleary “rarely indulges in adjectives, lush static descriptions or airy philosophies, even when the becharmed reader would beg her for more.” It's a good piece on Cleary's writing life, but also brings up a question I've never bothered to ask: Can a writing style be shaped by your background? Read the essay here
How to get attention money can't buy.
Follow the link, and you'll see a picture of Don Draper holding an iPhone. The key to this, and the reason for Robert Bruce's post on Copyblogger
, is that it's of course actor Jon Hamm, not Draper, who owns the phone. But in a beautiful meeting of product and culture—for Apple, anyway—Apple has aligned itself with a popular TV show. Bruce's point is that ultimately, this is not an accident. “If you consistently tell a true story about your company, product, service, or idea that resonates with the worldview of a group of people, that ‘world’ will eventually beat a path to your door.” Read the post here
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.