Wed Jun 19, 2019 London
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EDITORIAL

Editorial comment from Matthew SteeplesOur editor tells it like it is and he rarely minces his words

Wally of the Week: Victor Lipman

‘Forbes’ contributor argues Twitter ‘can make you a better writer’

 

Forbes is a deservedly respected magazine that was established in 1917. An article it published this week written by Victor Lipman, however, makes a mockery of this otherwise fine title. In the feature, the Harvard graduate and former marketing executive argued that Twitter “is an exceptional tool that can make you a better writer”.

 

Though Victor Lipman argues that Twitter "can make you a better writer", we'd say it is actually just a form of instant communication
Though Victor Lipman argues that Twitter “can make you a better writer”, we’d say it is actually just a form of instant communication

Lipman’s belief is that the discipline of 140 characters makes users “practice selection and compression”. He cites an example “favourite” tweet by his daughter in which she says:

 

“coffee coffee #coffee, so nice i [sic] said it thrice”

 

His summary of what makes this missive “good writing” is as follows:

 

“I hope it’s not a minor lapse of integrity that I included a daughter’s tweet here. But I do like coffee and the way she described it”.

 

“And I do like Twitter. For all these reasons and then some”.

 

If that is an example of written genius, God help us all. If Shakespeare, Wordsworth or Dickens were presented with it, what would they say? Subsequently, for that very reason, Victor Lipman just had to be our wally of the week.

 

 

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Comments

10 comments on “Wally of the Week: Victor Lipman”

  1. I am going to side with Victor Lipman here. When writing a Tweet and realising it would extend to, say, 160 characters, one has to find a way of cutting out 20 characters and still keep the essence of what one wants to say. I tend to feel that if it is possible say the same thing with fewer words then it is better to do so: it does not waste the readers time. Tweeters are forced into this behaviour on a regular basis and if it can be extended to other outlets for the writers work, be it blogs, articles or books, so much the better.

  2. I agree with Dark Avenger. Verbosity is to be deplored. Twitter encourages some to think before they speak, However, I hate ‘text speak’. Punctuation should be encospeak’ too.

  3. I think you are being a bit unfair here. Mr. Lipman is actually right in stating that having to comment in 140 strokes force you to be select words carefully to state your points in the fewest possible words. But that is matter of the style in which the points are made, not the content of them. And the style of his daughters comment is rather charming.

    It is probably the editors of Forbes who stuck him with the “better writer” headline. That’s just sloppy use of words.

    1. Lipman just doesn’t get it. I checked his Twitter handle and he uses abbreviations constantly and fails on the punctuation score too. This is hardly an example of good writing. If he took this more seriously, I would have far more respect for his argument.

    2. Barbara Minto is correct about Lipman being “stuck” with that headline. I wouldn’t have chosen it in a month of Sundays. As for Twitter, it’s an abomination. It should be closed down as it contributes nothing to society. You should have mentioned what Steven Berkoff said about it being such in your article Steeples.

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