I remember as a kid getting letters from my grandmother for my birthday. She would send a card and then with the same stationary that she seemed to write all of her letters on, she would write a letter about how her and grandfather were doing. She would update me on how things were going and how they had been. She would also ask how things were with me and my family. Every time I got that letter I knew that grandmother loved me. I knew that she had taken time out of her day just to write me and communicate with me. I knew her message without her ever having to say it.
When I was a high school student I remember staying up at night and writing letters to my girlfriend. I remember telling her about being frustrated with my brothers and my parents (like most kids are at that age). I remember telling her about how school was going or how I was doing in soccer. But most importantly I remember all the mushy stuff that goes into writing letters back and forth and professing love to each other. I knew that she felt the same way not just because she told me but because she could write about it for 7 pages!
In college I remember that it became extremely easy to communicate with family and friends through the use of an email. The convenience was a wonderful way to stay connected to those that I wasn’t able to physically see every day. Planning and organizing became much more streamlined as we became busier and busier. We no longer needed to make time to have a phone conversation in order to feel connected with people hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away. It was the newest form of writing letters to stay connected.
As an adult with children now, I’m having to learn how to adjust to our newest form of writing. We call it texting. As cell phones became more and more popular and mainstream it was only a matter of time before we started looking for a quicker, shorter means of communication. Techies like to refer to it as evolving and advancing technology. However, for some, texting has quickly been viewed as a backwards step in communication.
We are now growing a generation that uses texting as its main means of communication. They see it as fast, simple, and convenient. They are able to carry on multiple conversations at one time without distracting or interrupting any of the conversations. They can talk with best friends, girlfriends, family, and maybe even their boss all while laying out at the swimming pool getting a tan. It does appear to be very convenient. Unfortunately, one very negative aspect has emerged. There is becoming a lost language of verbal and visual communication.
Teenagers are struggling to apply for jobs because they do not understand how powerful body language is. There is an absence of formality to beginning or ending a conversation as this is not needed when texting. You can simply leave a conversation “hanging” until later in the day when you are able to resume it. And one of the more important detriments that texting is contributing to is the misunderstanding of emotions of words. When a person texts, “I don’t understand why you did what you did,” the interpretation of emotion or meaning is left up to the reader of the test. Which often times can quickly escalate to a heated argument. Of course, unless you add “LOL”, which apparently makes everything okay in the world of texting.
Sure, there are plenty of people who still use the old fashioned way of communicating, an actual phone call, but there is a growing generation that unless taught the importance of the spoken and visual word, who will find themselves speaking a completely different language in the very near future. I SMH and LOL when I think about that. IMHO.