Sunday, September 26, 2010

Learning to Write

My wife said an interesting thing tonight.  About 100 years ago people used to write letters.  You know, with pen and paper.  They did this a lot, because it was good to keep in touch with people you knew and there was no telephone or internet, etc.  People were skilled at this letter-writing business; they had an understanding of how to exchange information, and what information was proper to publish.  There was decorum, consideration for feelings and sensibilities of the reader.  Language was articulate, concise, eloquent, nearly art.

Then we had the telephone.  Then tv, and the rest of modern media.  Letters fell largely by the wayside- I remember my mother having to nag me to write "thank you notes" after Christmas.  It was a chore for a spoiled, jaded kid growing into an artless world...

Now we have the internet.  There are open on-line forums where anyone can 'register', choose a screen-name, and start posting on the subject of their choice:  If you can Google it, you can go raise some virtual hell about it!  For we are a whole new generation not raised on letters.  Poorly skilled communicators, unable to properly frame their thoughts or intentions now run rough-shod through the cyber-universe, hazarding conflict and acrid retorts from other disagreeable, distant enthusiasts- whom they'll very likely never see or know.  It's a potential orgy of misinterpretation and ill-appropriated  counter-blows than can, with little provocation, erupt into volatile "flame wars", complete with grammar and spelling errors a 4th grader would snicker at.  And perhaps some language a 4th grader wouldn't know what to do with.  All because we can't really say what we mean.  That takes practice.

I posted some items here over the last couple days that were really a tad less than appropriate in one way or another.  Won't say why, just suffice that I've discovered some remedial communication skills of my own to pull together.  I'm just not a 'man of letters', you see, and I may bump into myself here more than once.  I'm going to keep a sharp eye on it.  And try to have some fun as I learn this new thing...

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