On Twitter, even though our posts are no longer truncated, it is still customary to keep to a very short message (it used to be 140 characters). In a way, we could see this as very similar to our old telegrams.
This is an example of a telegram. Some of us will remember those, they were sent from far away, sometimes for urgent messages, like announcing a death, or for congratulations – they used to be read at weddings for example. Each word counted, because each word had to be paid for. If we look at the way they were written, or remember them, many words were omitted from a sentence, keeping only those that were absolutely necessary to make the message understandable.
There are very few words in a tweet, but they are now often illustrated by a photograph, which was not possible in a telegram! And they are free, so you can send short tweets as often as you like… As is common in most online writing, the writing style is personal (“Good morning”), and the first sentence is also truncated (‘nice enough’ instead of ‘it is nice enough’). More than a telegram, this message could remind us of a postcard, sent to loved ones from a holiday resort. We know the reader does not expect the message to be formal, and that it is a reminder of conversations. Which does not mean that it is not well written. The author of this tweet is a writer and poet, her language and her writer’s voice comes through even in a very short text.
Write the same text (an outline of a topic you know well) as a report, as a letter, as a blog post, as a text.
From the section above, you have seen that writing online is often more informal than writing on paper. Teaching online can also be a little more informal, even more in the case of SenGuide, where we want to pass on knowledge, experience and passion for the love of learning rather than information for a diploma or official recognition.
Learning online can feel more personal: we are alone in front of a screen, with the words/photos/video of a tutor who seems to be talking directly at us, not at a class full of other people. As teachers in SenGuide, we will try to make the most of this feeling of personal learning – one of our tools in this endeavour is the way we write for each reader, as if we were talking to them personally.