Tuesday, 25 January 2011

I was writing about the

internet being a communication board yesterday and, oddly, there are two pieces in this morning's paper about communication on the internet. Neither says anything particularly new or newsworthy. One is yet another statement of alarm at how things like SMS messages and "tweets" use all sorts of contractions and how this is affecting our ability to write the English language. The other is about how "virtual" communication can do more to isolate us than socialise us.
I cannot send SMS messages. I do not know how to do it. There has not been much point in learning because the keys on a mobile 'phone are simply too small for me to use with any accuracy. If I ever get something large enough to use then I may learn this art. It is an art. I watch young people do it rapidly and, almost, without thought. What they are saying may or may not be important, although clearly they believe it is important enough to communicate it.
I can "tweet" on the computer and I do. Although you only get 140 characters to play with a lot can be said. I have two "twitter" accounts. One for personal use (a bit of fun) and one for professional use.
Having a limited space in which to respond requires a sort of intellectual discipline. Using abbreviations is essential. I have however already managed to learn to read and write (although some of you may doubt the latter). My spelling is, I think, fairly accurate. I think you need to be able to do these things before you start to use abbreviated language to communicate. Why? I think you need to know what you really are saying rather than what you think you are saying.
Not everyone will agree.
As for virtual rather than actual friendships, I have both. I work from home so I am even more conscious of the need for both. It is not always possible for me to get out and talk to people during the day. "Chatting" to friends on the internet is a great pleasure. At the same time I will take this afternoon "off" and go and teach a knitting class in the local book-shop. The group does not actually require much teaching. The important thing is that it is a real group with real people.
I need both types of friendship just as people need both forms of communication.


Jayne said...

I totally agree that before abbreviating folk need to know what they are saying rather than what they think the words mean. Such as LOL - people either think it means Lots of Love, or Laugh out Loud. Funnily enough older folk seem to think the former, and younger folk think the latter. Not sure what that says about the way humans are evolving!

Anonymous said...

It took me quite a long time to find a phone that I could text from, and now I rely very much on it, not only to communicate with my young people, but also to organize my appointments in the calendar section - amazingly useful, since paper diaries don't ring bells to remind me about things

Rachel Fenton said...

Cool post, Cat. I like a good dose of reality with my virtuality.

Ann said...

There is a place for both the virtual and actual body friends. A healthy mix of both and you have the best of both worlds. I am only getting my head around some of the text abbreviating. Took ages to figure out BTW. But I got there eventually.