Are we raising a generation that cannot write, spell or communicate face to face? Is Facebook to blame?
In 2012, more and more people than ever before are being lured into the world of online social networking and less of social intercourse. Teenagers (including my own) talk more to their friends online than they ever do face to face. Is this something we should be scared about? You better believe it!
The average teenager and young adult coming out into the big wide world from school, college or even university is less equipped than ever before to make it in the employment arena. They are poorly prepared to fulfill their life potential and I blame a lot of it on the social networking phenomena. The rest I blame on the parents, but that’s a whole other hub!
Let me say right up front that I have Facebook and I do use social media. The difference for me is that I came to embrace those mediums after having been taught how to write, spell and talk. Now I am able to use those skills within the framework of social networking.
Let's talk grammar and spelling...
All you need to do is take a look at anyone’s Facebook page from the younger generation and you will see comment after comment after comment that is laced with grammatical errors, poor punctuation and spelling mistakes.
I literally cringe when I read some people’s posts. The blatant abuse of such words as there, their and they’re is rampant. Then there is “its” and it’s” and the list goes on and on. It would seem that the average computer keyboard for most people doesn’t have a “SHIFT” key to facilitate capitalization of letters, nor a “.”, “,”, “;” or even a “?”. Did that last sentence confuse you? Hard to read, but punctuated correctly. Facebook posts just ramble on with no thought to phrasing, sentence structure or punctuation. The users type as they think and often the typing is lagging way behind the thinking so things get missed. You know, unimportant things like letters, commas, periods etc.
How these young people will ever be able to write letters, sales proposals, or even internal staff memos is beyond me.
Then there is writing itself...
Ask any teenager to actually “write” an essay and you will see a look of sheer panic cross their face. The lost art of writing is just that – a lost art. You have to look to people in their 30’s and up to find a demographic of human beings with the ability to write neatly, legibly and usually attractively with cursive writing. Now I understand that the majority of communication from here on in will be via computer and typed, but there is still the hand written love poem, birthday card and letter in a bottle that we have to think about.
Lastly, and most frightening though, is the lack of ability for young people to have honest face-to-face communication with another human.
There is no substitute for looking directly into someone else’s eyes as they are talking to you and watching their face as you are talking to them. The most powerful and honest communication is done non-verbally. You cannot miss the reaction on someone’s face when you share some news with him or her, be it good or bad. If they are a true friend, and genuinely concerned for you, it will tell by their expression. A Facebook comment can never replace compassion shown on the face.
Online there is an ability to be someone that you want others to see rather than the real you. Yes, you can hide things when talking face to face, but it is a lot harder. My relationship with my wife would be very poor if all our communication was done online! To be a part of a relationship, friendship or even just a conversation, I believe there is a need to engage your whole being.
Is my hub going to change this issue? Heck, no! In fact by writing it I am adding to the information highway online. I would suggest that we all stop writing hubs online, put real pen to paper and mail them in envelopes with hand-written addresses on, to all the people with whom we wish to share our hub. It’s hard to type with your tongue so firmly stuck in your cheek you know!
Aaaah, breathe in, and relax. Venting over. Am I the only one who feels this?