The art of communication
Is it dead or alive?
A lighthearted ramble based on how people communicate. I wrote this because I'm finding as I get older that the younger generation can't even look you in the eye when they speak, or when you speak to them. Where have we gone wrong? Why are people so afraid to talk face-to-face? Why is it preferable to text someone when a few words would have meant so much more, particularly when they are in the same house or even sat next to you?
Have you ever been so bone idle that you've texted someone or emailed them when infact they are in the same room, just because you couldn't be bothered to talk, or maybe didn't know what to say verbally?
I know lots of people who admit to this, myself included texting my sons to say I'm going to sleep - just because they've got a bedroom full of their mates and I didn't want to cause them embarrassment by announcing my early night to all and sundry. If this sounds like you and/or your family, read on....
Photo courtesy of Idea Go at www.freedigitalphotos.net (http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photo... with thanks.
Why I've written this
Before I begin I'd just like to point out that the content of this lens is purely based on my own opinions and/or observations.
I decided to write this because communication has been a bit of a theme in my life this week one way or another and I'm sure I'll hit on points that concern lots of other people about how we all interact.
The main prompt has been social network sites, and it seems the older a person is the less likely they are to use such sites. From what I have observed it is how young people communicate with one another. They post things onto their 'wall' for all their followers (friends, family and total strangers) to see such as, 'I've had a boiled egg for my dinner.' and other meaningless rubbish. With one glance we know their every movement because they chose to write about it.
To a certain extent it feeds the youngsters desire for recognition. Apart from the meaningless tripe they post, they add pictures, probably taken by themselves with their mobile phone or webcam, to allow other people to comment on how they look! They are all becoming self-obsessed and don't seem to aspire to anything other than to look good or be famous. Someone once said that being a celebrity is the new religion, the followers being the disciples.
If you read the postings you will notice that hardly any of them can spell properly. What on Earth are they being taught at school? I'm not the world's best speller but I don't have mistakes in every sentence! The funny thing is that sometimes they use more letters to spell something incorrectly than if they used the English dictionary version of the same word. I argued with a friend this week that many of them do it deliberately, most do really know how to spell but doing it properly doesn't fit in with social network speak. Personally, it makes me cringe. Especially when I see it spilling into their everyday life and simple acts like filling forms out are made to look like a five year old has completed them.
Faceless and Titter
This is how my friend refers to two such sites (Facebook and Twitter). They have a point because Twitter is very gossip based, usually relating to breaking news about celebrities. Facebook and many other social network sites seem to be a place that some people hide behind in order to be hurtful to others. They don't realise how damaging it is to air something in public that really ought to be private such as dumping their girlfriend online for all the world to see. Or perhaps they do, they just have no respect.
So not only do we know Johnnie's shoe size or that his grandma died two days ago, we also know Johnnie can't spell and is publicly humiliating someone else at his school and all his 'friends' are chipping in.
The language they use is another issue - it's disgusting! Not only can they not spell but they fuel their pointless discussions or venomous abuse with language that would make even a trooper blush! I don't understand their need to talk in this way. And like those hand-written forms this language comes into their everyday life and they think it's all right to be that vocal in public. Those who behave like this seem to have no respect, for themselves or others, they seem blissfully unaware that they may be offending someone in their midst. I think it's even worse hearing it coming from young girls especially when they look like pop stars in the making, until they open their mouths and a string of expletives comes out!
So has the art of communication died?
I don't think so. Like anything else in life it just takes on a new guise. I remember years ago not wanting to communicate with telephone answering machines - it was embarrassing talking into thin air and most of the time I just left some hurried garbled message. Nowadays answerphones are so taken for granted, particularly since mobile phones came along, that most people don't think twice about using them.
How did we all manage before the days of mobile phones and the internet? It seems a lot of people are glued to theirs, like a trusty friend they cannot be parted from. Have you ever watched a young person despair when theirs fails to work? They don't know what to do! They don't know how to occupy themselves, they have nothing to twiddle and their whole world and how to navigate around it (via satnav) comes to an end. They sulk from withdrawal and laugh at our suggestion to go and visit their friend off the internet because they only actually live next door!
It does seem to be an excuse for laziness. I have known parents text their children to see what they want for their tea - and they are in the same house, or worse, in the same room! Why can't people talk face to face anymore? Try talking to a teenager these days and you will notice they look everywhere except directly at you, they cannot make eye contact. They would much rather communicate through some hand-held gadget than actually be bothered to speak.
I suppose it's just the modern day equivalent of post. I used to get excited if a hand-written letter popped onto my doormat in the same way some people (not just teenagers) get excited when their mobiles ring or they receive email and instant messages. I think I would be twice as excited to receive a hand-written letter these days because they are rare as unicorns and I find emails and typed letters very impersonal due to their ordinariness.
I'm not against the new
You may be reading this and think I'm very against modern technology methods of communication. I'm not at all. I think they are fantastic when used correctly and can enhance life. They are like any other tool and simply put, a way of getting from A to B.
And I don't think for a minute that only young people communicate in this way, my own father who is in his seventies met his wife on the internet - so you're never too old! Infact the pair of them are more internet savvy than I am, using Skype and such things to communicate with grandchildren.
Modern technology is a wonderful way to communicate and saves so much time - why wait a week for a letter when it can be sent instantly. Since the Post Office seem to deliver letters when they feel like it making me question, 'Is this today's post late or tomorrow's come early?' as they merrily flick rubber bands onto my path whilst leaving, I'd happily settle for an email.
I'm On The Fence
Don't worry, I'm not having one of those silent protests, I'm not really sat on a fence! Having explored my thoughts on the subject I've decided I'm a hypocrite!
What I mean by that is, earlier in the rant I said how youngsters write meaningless tripe on their 'walls', but really I'm sure without computers or mobiles they would probably still tell their friend face to face about that egg they ate. Face to face we can talk a lot of hot air too, perhaps texts and internet posts are a good thing because they force us to get to the point quicker.
Every medium has it's advantages and dis-advantages. I'm a bit old fashioned though and am glad I know how to read a map should my satnav fail, or how to ring someone directly when I have a question because to text them would take an age. But to close this article I would like to say that going off what I've written, the speed at which modern technology changes, the way in which we seem to be becoming a faceless society scares me. In the future not only will somone not be able to spell my name correctly on some important document but my care package will be provided by someone who isn't actually there.
It begs the question, 'Does anything in life really exist?'