I’ve always loved to read. I also love to write. Grammar… not so much and I’m very thankful for Spell Check. Something else I’m not so thrilled with is the way modern technology creates an environment for misunderstanding. As if we didn’t have enough trouble with that already.
Email is a wonderful invention. Instant letters, what could be better than that? Except that sentences get shorter, words get abbreviated and thoughts misinterpreted. Rather than the long, wonderful letters of the past that described in great detail the life and thoughts of the sender, emails are getting shorter and shorter. Long emails are usually skimmed at best and to make matters even more complicated the FWD: junk emails cram our virtual mailboxes so full that important emails can get deleted in a mass ‘delete’. SPAM used to refer to a canned meat (?) product – now it’s the majority of the emails in my inbox, equally unappealing and often carry computer viruses and malware. Don’t think you can eat with malware. Emails have also left my physical mailbox filled with nothing more than junk mail (tangible SPAM, but not the meat) and bills. Yuck!
Texting has degraded the art of writing even farther. Now whole phrases are reduced to a mere few letters. LOL used to be the only thing you could say when a giant sucker was stuffed in your mouth and the word lollipop was impossible to say, now it means you are ‘laughing out loud’. How many of us are actually ‘laughing out loud’ when we type that into our phones? A chuckle maybe, but real laughter? Too many of us ( I’m really guilty here ) have come to prefer texting to actual conversations. I’m phone shy, always have been. For me texting is easier, safer. Except that it is way too easy to misunderstand texts and blow them way out of proportion. (again, guilty) Arguments can arise out of a few misplaced words. Intentions and mood are rarely expressed properly in texts. It takes real words and real sentences to create communication, both of which are usually missing in texts. And don’t get me started about vowels!
Social networking is another wonderful creation. I love Facebook! Twitter I haven’t quite figured out yet, not enough space. Facebook has been my lifeline for nearly three years now, ever since my late husband got sick. When we were in Germany for his alternative cancer treatments I don’t think I could have survived without Facebook. The link to my friends and family, their prayers communicated to us through this magical thing called a wall, kept me going everyday while I watched my husband get continually sicker day after day. Facebook can also be evil… those little games will draw you in and invade your mind, sucking the life out of living. (Did I say guilty yet? If not I need to.) Facebook can also get you into debates, arguments and misunderstandings when you try to read between lines that aren’t even there. The posts of others can rile emotions when they should be ignored. ( um, guilty).
Our lives will never be the same with the technology that continues to make the world a smaller place to live. Lives that once intertwined with family and neighborhood now sit in isolation and surf. The art of handwritten communication is being replaced with typing and poor abbreviations. Our children may never know the excitement of receiving a long-awaited letter or card being hand delivered by a postal carrier. The skills of personal communication are being reduced to electronic communication. I wonder if we will eventually forget how to write with a pen, maybe even forget how to speak altogether? Thank God that we can still go to Ken Davis’ Dynamic Communicators Workshop to brush up on speaking! You really should check it out! I had a wonderful time there!!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a text to answer and I really must check my emails… LOL!