Social media gives us the ability to communicate less to more people.
A Facebook status is one or two cleverly written sentences.
Twitter allows 140 characters for a tweet, including hashtags and a shortened url.
Txts r shrtr
Gone is the Dickens era of descriptive and meaningful prose.
We r short & sweet.
Today, I’m giving you the ability to make your words shorter and sweeter. Well, shorter for sure.
Today’s COOL TOOL is the Shorter Thesaurus. Ya’ know, that book you use to look up other words that are the same thing, only different. Synonyms, be the English teacher way of saying that.
This is the Thesaurus I packed when leaving for college in August, 1982.
It was a going-away present from my youngest sister. She didn’t know her few dollars of allowance would buy the best present she ever gave me. Of course, I used it until I discovered right clicking in Word and the online thesaurus, but now we’ve been friends too long to part ways.
In case you want to take a rabbit trail through the history of Peter Mark Roget and his amazing thesaurus. He collected words just like Dr. Mardy, my last Cool Tool.
Aw, isn’t that clever? They even shortened the word “Thesaurus.” See how easy it is? You don’t have to mumble the alphabet under your breath while thumbing through the yellowed pages, or maybe I’m the only one who does that, you just type your long word into the little box and click LOOK UP. It gives you a list of shorter words to choose from.
I tried one of the only big words I know. Hmmm…lotsa’ big words still. It’s supposed to shrink our words, not the kids. It could be the word. Let’s try again.
Not bad, but I wouldn’t use sudsy unless I was talking about laundry. I’ve never heard a mother say, “I’m sudsy because my kids have bickered all day!”
How about spumous? Would you be spumous during PMS? Maybe, maybe not. No secrets need be shared at a reader’s expense.
They didn’t even come up with scared? Really? I knew that one.
I decided to have a Word-off between MY trusty Thesaurus and The Shorter Thesaurus ~ a shootout without guns or a duel without swords. We’re pitting the old versus the new, printed page versus web page, and traditional versus technical.
It took me awhile, because when I was thumbing through the pages, I kept stopping to read. Oh, you do that too? Phew. I’m not the only word weirdo. Then I had to keep smashing the book so much on the scanner to get the whole page, I was afraid I’d break her sensitive middle-aged binding. You have to cross out the long words in your mind, of course. We’re only comparing short words.
Not bad, not bad. You can use the root words of most words on the list, too.
Two words? This digital dream only came up with two words? Do you use oeuvre? You looked it up, too?
What say you? Who’s the winner? It’s a draw?
You’re right. We need them both. Sometimes we need the feel and smell of an old, trusty friend, a printed book, and sometimes we need to get with the times and use the technology offered.
Either way, we need to shrink our thoughts and words to fit into today’s social media environments.