By Alna Dall
Photo source: http://www.smh.com.au
I remember the warm-tingling feeling I used to get when my mom gave me my weekly letter. My gran would, without fail, write me a six page letter every week. Sadly, the letters have become less frequent. Our postal service sux, it costs a lot to send a letter, it takes forever to get to its destination and the bloody things get lost all the time.
In all fairness, we can’t blame my gran’s waning enthusiasm solely on the crappy postal service, but that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that we have entered a new era of communication and social networking. We email and blog and “Facebook” and “myspace” and “chat” and “msn messenger” and “sms” and “mms” and “mxit” etc. etc. etc. Well I’m not altogether convinced that it’s really such an upgrade…. Sure, we now all have the world at our fingertips and we can keep in touch with relatives in a cheap, fast and effective way. It takes mere seconds to “google” anything and everything and thanks to “Wikiwikiwikipedia” we don’t have to go to lectures and essays to all us drunken, lazy “academics” are far more convenient….
So what is my point? Well, I’msure you’ve all experienced the urge to write “Lol” “Brb” or “l8r” in an email or an essay. We are reducing our intelligence to stupid abbreviations and cute little crappy words. (If this was not affecting my intelligence as well, I might have been able to come up with an alternative term to “cute little crappy words”). Our new forms of technological communication are raping the English language… convict style. Why ever bother to learn how to spell if you have spell check? Why bother learning anything at all? It’s all on the net anyway.
And those poor youthful sods who will never experience the sheer exhilaration (used spell check for that one) of opening granny’s letter. The classic birthday card has become an e-mail, which takes 3 minutes to write and absolutely no effort to send. It has lost its meaning.
I’m am not supposing that the technological communication does not have its benefits. It has transformed global media and we have the ability to spread awareness and ideologies at the touch of a button. I can read local Namibian newspapers online and feel all “ethnocentric” again. I can petition against puppy factories and child porn and rising oil prices and interest rates. It is revolutionary but it is cold and impersonal and I fear that it is turning us all into a bunch of computer literate illiterates.
It is also quite amusing that I have picked blogging to share my destest with the world. The IRONY….