Quoting Twitter in Journalism: Life as Art?

Bobby Jenks and Ozzie Guillen are no longer co-workers, and Bobby Jenks sure isn’t broken up about it. On joining the Red Sox, Jenks said that he is “looking forward to playing for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen.”

Although one could hardly be surprised that a Guillen would swiftly and forcefully respond to Jenks’s comments, I don’t think too many people expected that it would be Ozzie’s son Oney with the comebacks. On his twitter feed, Oney railed against Jenks, calling into question his manliness, pointing out his weight problem, and even claiming that Jenks is a “yellow beard dipper.”

That’s all very interesting and exciting, but this story is not what I’m interested in. No, I was more intrigued by the way this story was reported. In the story linked above from ESPN, Oney’s twitter feed is quoted. Like many younger people, Oney doesn’t always use proper grammar or spelling or punctuation or whatever other convention of English you can think of in his tweets. As a result, we have the following fascinating paragraph appearing in print on a national sports site:

Oney Guillen called Jenks an ungrateful “punk” in a series of Twitter posts. In one, he wrote that Jenks should “be a man and tell the manager or the coaching staff how u feel or the organization when u were with the sox not when u leave.” In another, he wrote that Jenks “cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful.”

It’s not like there was really anything for the reporter to do about those tweets, unless you want everything to read with bracketed corrections every other word. I, for one, find it beautiful in its current form. The paragraph is a stunning merger of the formal and the casual; of the impassive and the emotional; of the edited and the unfiltered. Only here do we see the opposing styles of the convention of the journalistic world and the uncaring typings of the young American communicator laid out in such stark contrast. Indeed, this is life as art.

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8 Responses to “Quoting Twitter in Journalism: Life as Art?”

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  1. Skillings24 says:

    I strongly believe that everyone should spell correctly at all times. But I might just have Aspberger’s.

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  2. Mike says:

    It’s a stunning merger of the professional and the unprofessional. I can understand the abbreviations and such to save space, but when you’re just putting things like “u” because you don’t know how to type, that’s annoying. That’s especially true because I find Oney Guillen annoying and a threat to his father’s job. But that’s beside the point.

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  3. Jameson says:

    I agree with Mike. Using abbreviations to save space on Twitter is one thing, but spelling and grammar are two very important things that are being utilized less and less. I see it as a problem.

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    • Sean says:

      Agreed. If anyone’s going to call that art, I’d say it’s the writing equivalent of a canvass painted a solid color: sure, there’s a simplistic beauty to it, but it mostly just sucks.

      I did like Jack’s last paragraph a lot though. Oney Guillen’s twitter feed won’t produce anything that well written, that’s for sure.

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    • David says:

      What’s the problem? History shows that people get smarter, not dumber, and languages evolve as a consequence. I prefer using correct grammar and spelling, but common usage will dictate the evolution of a language. “Thy” and “Thou” fell out of common usage, and I would not be surprised if “u” did not replace “you” in the not too distant future. Even more cringe-worthy are the lack of punctuation and capitalization. But the fact remains that literacy rates are generally high and the English language is not suffering from Twitter or text-speak.

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  4. Me ken dem barg mit a shpendel nit avektrogen.

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