By Laura FittsThe power of writing is to change lives, according to a group of students who recently made the mistake of sharing their first impressions of the power of language.
Their post went viral on Twitter, receiving more than 6,000 retweets and a response from Yale professor Dan Gilbert, who called the tweets “the best first impressions I’ve ever received.”
Gilbert’s post is the latest to poke fun at the “power of words” and its role in shaping our world, but his post is also an interesting insight into how we interact with the world online.
The tweet’s authors were among the first to use the hashtag #powerofwords, which is popularized by social-media site Instagram and has become a Twitter hashtag for sharing content.
The Yale students who made the tweet have made a similar observation to the one that Gilbert has made in his post, which posits that words can be a powerful tool in the world of online marketing and marketing automation.
“We’re all social creatures and if you’re ever feeling like you’re missing out on something, we have a tool to help you find it,” said the tweet’s author, Erica Foy.
“If you don’t have a good first impression, we can help you get one!”
She added, “If you are just trying to make friends, we offer the most popular social media dating apps for people to get connected and get to know you better.”
“The power that words have over us is a tool that we can use to connect with and learn from each other, and if we can’t make connections, then we’re all screwed,” said one of the Yale students.
The power behind the #power ofwords hashtag, the hashtag that has been trending on Twitter since August of last year, has inspired a number of social-engineer-turned-author-turned comedian and comedian-blogger Josh Weinstein to make a video of his own, “The Power of Words.”
In the video, Weinstein’s character, the narrator of the clip, says he wants to give voice to the students who are currently struggling with how to use words.
“The problem is that there is a whole generation of kids who are now going to college without having a word,” he said in the video.
“You’ve got a lot of kids in that class who are not in that room.
And the only way to really help them understand the power and the beauty of words is to actually use them.”
He said he’s created a series of videos on the topic of how words can empower us, and that he hopes to eventually release a book titled The Power of Word.
While the hashtag itself is an interesting way to bring awareness to the issue of the overuse of words online, there is also a deeper meaning behind the hashtag.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, words have historically been understood as “the means of expressing ideas, concepts, or thoughts, as opposed to the thing they are meant to represent.”
“Words and their meaning are always relative to the context in which they are used,” wrote the Oxford dictionary in an earlier edition of its English dictionary.
“For example, ‘a horse’ is always relative, whereas ‘a dog’ is relative to ‘a pig.'”
The power to say something with words, in this instance, has become so much more than an abstract concept.
It has become the currency of the internet, where it is now used to fuel discussions and debate.
“The power in the word is that it is a force, and it is not the thing that is in itself,” said Weinstein.
“It is the power that people use it to express themselves.”
This article was updated on December 20 to reflect the new information about how the tweet became popular on Twitter.