Twitter versus a shoebox full of letters

Posted on May 28, 2010


It could be said that the art of writing a blog is similar to traditional letter writing, with the author sending out a missive to her readers on a regular basis, like a traveller writing home from foreign shores. Unlike a conventional letter, a blog post can not show the writer’s mood in terms of words appearing hurried or slanting, or rounded and calm. Instead, a blog resembles a letter seen at one remove, where personal nuances have been filtered out.

This distancing effect could explain why blog writers are often more familiar in tone than would be expected, considering their ‘letters’ are on public display and can be read by strangers. Perhaps there is always an urge to make up for the sterilising effect of language being converted into text on a screen and forced into a restrictive, repetitive format by blogging software. SEO copywriters and content writers have an extra hurdle to overcome when reaching out to their readers because they must incorporate keywords into their writing in a way that seems as natural as possible.

It has been said recently that most children these days no longer know how to write letters, and it is possible that the art is dying out, with texts and emails offering more instant ways to communicate. If this is true, will anyone save their emails and blog posts, in the way that significant letters used to be kept in shoeboxes and tied up with ribbon? As the answer is probably ‘no’, future historians may well be analysing our Twitter archives.

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