the spread of illiteracy: facebook only allows 1 paragraph at a time

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  • #200591
    Michael E. Walston
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
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    Sometimes you have a story to tell that requires more than 1. Does Facebook think we’re all a bunch of simpletons?

    My latest FB post tonight was a story I really wanted to tell but I was forced to cram it all into one bastardized paragraph:

    MY LAST RUN OF THE NIGHT I’ve got a little tear in my eye right now. About an hour ago I was first in line at the airport, thinking philosophically about how Saturday is the worst day for airport cabs but somebody’s gotta be there anyway, when an older man (for me to call him an older man means I’m the younger man and since i’m 59 that tells you something right there) hailed me from the main egress. So I pulled over to the curb to pick him up. His wife was using a walker and she had a very hard time getting into the cab. She was obviously suffering from Alzheimer’s and she was spouting random nonsense syllables, but the old man patiently helped her into the car while I loaded their luggage. As it turned out they needed a ride into Hendersonville; they were coming home from Switzerland. Despite the facts that they were both pretty old and that she was suffering from dementia, he had taken her to see her old home town (she was Swiss and he was American) for one last time. She tugged on my jacket (it’s a bit cool here in NC tonight) and asked if it was hers. I just smiled at her and said I was pretty sure it was mine. They were both very sweet. I’m sure they were both glad to be home but I say it was an awesome thing that man did for his wife, taking her halfway across the planet to see her old home town one last time.

    #221864
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
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    That’s a wonderful story :).

    And I’ll pass on a FB tip I was given for just this type of situation: I believe it’s Control Return, but it could be Alt (or option on a mac) will get you a return on FB so you don’t have to have the huge paragraphs.

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #221865
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
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    Oh, and transform it into a flash. There’s markets that would love something so poignant.

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #221866
    Wandering Author
    Participant
    • Topics - 34
    • Replies - 369

    I agree with MarFisk – that’s a good story, and one you could easily turn into a nice little flash “tidbit”.

    I also agree with you – Facebook’s design (even with the ability to add returns) just isn’t set up with literacy in mind. It was designed for the on screen equivalent of “sound bites”. Sure, with a little work you can partially overcome that design, but I don’t think of Facebook as a natural environment for writers.

    (This is not just a rant from my perspective as a writer; for a couple of years, I worked on the fringes of social media. Most of you can’t imagine just how much impact the design of a site can have on the interatctions that take place on that site. I’m not good enough to design great sites – but I at least understand good vs. bad design. Of course, “good” or “bad” is defined by purpose. Facebook was never intended to be a site for writers or writing as such. So it isn’t that it’s “bad”, but rather that it’s bad for literary uses. Yes, there are writers who can limp along on there. I’ve done some writing with tools that weren’t meant for it, either. Like the time I took a carpenter’s pencil to a brown paper bad to get an idea down… That’s nothing I’d recommend anyone try except as a last resort in dire straits ,though.)

    #221879
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
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    Exactly. It is, in fact, designed NOT for literacy. It’s designed for people to treat the Internet as the kind of quick conversations between friends.

    And thanks, you just gave me a fun idea for a blog post :).

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #221867
    zette
    Moderator
    • Topics - 583
    • Replies - 887

    I’m not entirely certain why ‘one paragraph’ spreads illiteracy. Yes, it’s silly — but it has nothing to do with what words are in that paragraph and whether or not they can be read. Rather this is just another sign of our ‘everything has to be Right Now!’ society. No one can be bothered to read more, they think — but that doesn’t mean they are forgetting how to read.

    #221870
    jschara
    Participant
    • Topics - 115
    • Replies - 655

    Shift return. But I haven’t figured out how to do it on an iPad yet.

    #221901
    ErinMH
    Moderator
    • Topics - 405
    • Replies - 10,885

    In the iPad app, you just use Return. It doesn’t post until you click Post.

    #221907
    Giddy
    Participant
    • Topics - 9
    • Replies - 51

    I don’t have an issue with FB making one paragraph. You can hit enter twice and it drops down a line and creates a second paragraph. Hitting enter doesn’t post it, it just breaks the current line.

    Shift_enter can be used as well especially in FB chat. When posting simply hitting enter/return works.

    It won’t all show on your post of course. some will fall below the allowable box. But the reader can simply click read more at the bottom of what does show.

    #221918
    Michael E. Walston
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 182
    Giddy wrote:
    I don’t have an issue with FB making one paragraph. You can hit enter twice and it drops down a line and creates a second paragraph. Hitting enter doesn’t post it, it just breaks the current line.

    That’s the way I thought it would work, and I could live with that–but our FB settings must be different, because when I hit enter it posts what I have written.

    Hence my annoyance.

    The whole “settings” deal on FB is really arcane, but that’s a separate rant…

    #221896
    Michael E. Walston
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 182
    zette wrote:
    that doesn’t mean they are forgetting how to read.

    I’ll grant you that, but they’re certainly not learning how to or maybe just not bothering to try to write properly these days in some cases.

    If you attempt to talk about grammar or spelling in many venues a lot of people just don’t want to hear it. They think it’s fine to keep doing things erroneously and if you don’t like it you’re the one with the problem.

    Thankfully I’ve not seen that sort of nonsense here on FM.

    #221871
    Michael E. Walston
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 182
    MarFisk wrote:
    That’s a wonderful story :).

    And I’ll pass on a FB tip I was given for just this type of situation: I believe it’s Control Return, but it could be Alt (or option on a mac) will get you a return on FB so you don’t have to have the huge paragraphs.

    Good tip. :)

    #221872
    Michael E. Walston
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 182
    MarFisk wrote:
    Oh, and transform it into a flash. There’s markets that would love something so poignant.

    um, okay, so what’s a flash?

    #221947
    Ashe Elton Parker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 475
    • Replies - 9,558

    A short story of 1,000 words or less.

    Ashe Elton Parker
    "Just love me, fear me, do as I say, and I will be your slave." ~ David Bowie as Jareth in Labyrinth
    ~*~
    Member since 1998.
    ~*~
    Look me up on Wattpad for some of my books!
    #221948
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 572
    • Replies - 15,628

    It’s a full and complete story told in under 1000, or 500, words depending on the market. There are many that are looking for flash material, pro level too :). Since this is not speculative, it’s a different grouping, but here’s one resource:

    FLASH FICTION FLASH NEWSLETTER
    The Newsletter for Flash Literature Writers

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FlashFictionFlash

    Editor: Pamelyn Casto

    Newsletter devoted to markets, contests, and publishing news for short-short literature 1,500 words or fewer (including flash fiction, short-short fiction, prose poetry, haibun, flash memoirs, flash creative nonfiction, flash plays).

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

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