Sunday, 22 May 2011

Language and Friendship

subtitled The Mad Ramblings of an Elderly Nutter The Cogent Thoughts of a Wise Old Sage.

The hiatus while Blogger was thowing a hissy fit caused me to have a thunk about how we (the cyber generation) have come to rely on the internet in nearly every area of our lives, but especially when it comes to friendship.

Actually I should admit here that I am from the pre-cyber generation, but trying hard to be hip and cool and up with the tekky stuff. When I was young there were just two channels on the telly, which my dad had constructed out of several valves and a cathode ray tube. The screen was tiny - about the size of an iPad but the box it was in, was huge.

As children we played out all day with the other kids in the street. We didn't go home unless we were bleeding really badly. We devised all kinds of games and scams; we were best friends and worst enemies. We went to school together and some of us even went to church together. We did facetime for real. To us the word "virtual" meant "not actually, but nearly".

What about now?

Well, you can be bosom buddies with someone the other side of the world you've never met and never likely to meet - other than in their "not actual" persona. You spend all your leisure time looking at a screen that varies in size from 3" x 4" to 3' x 4'. You talk and write in something called txtspk. IMHO ASAIC it's OMDB. It doesn't WFM, but RBTL WC it's WF TM. Living life in acronyms with "nearly" people..... YSW. Nuff!

So we gather in these "not actually, but nearly" communities which are based on shared interests rather than geographical location. It is global not local. It is virtual, but none the less it is the new reality. And when you get fed up with talking to pixelled faces on a time lag or txtng into the ether, you just press a button and they are no more.

So with the advent of txtspk and the community now global, deconstructed language and reconstructed friendships now inform the world in which we live.

What next do you think? Gruntspeak? It won't be long before the "now" generation will be speaking fluent troglodyte. And then before you know it, thinking will become the universal language. No need to translate as what you think will automatically transmitted through the airwaves and understood by osmosis. It's a terrifying prospect! The thought police will become a living reality and the voicebox will become unnecessary.

Yep, there is a seismic shift in the concept of friendship and the use of language, but maybe it's not all bad when you realise that the term "keeping in touch" now has a whole new exciting dimension to it. Horizons are broadened when the world can now be streamed into your bedroom through your laptop, iPhone or iPad..... and very soon it will just be a chip in your brain. Better there than on your shoulder?

The Art of Communication. My favourite clip from YouTube from the talking cats series.

What was I saying about a rambling nutter?


  1. This is a really interesting blog. My friends and I have spoken at length about this sort of communication.

    On the one hand there is a lot to be said for meeting people online. Take my good friend Ashley for example. I've stayed at her house, watched movies with her curled up on the sofa munching pizza, been to gigs, explored London with her...she's a true friend in every meaning of the word. But we met online. I was "Sky" and she was "Original Sin" on the Heartagram forum years and years ago. I think we chatted for four or five years before finally meeting up in person.

    The thing about online friendships is that I like to bring them into the actual real world too. I have friends from the USA and Canada, whom I've only met once, but met nonetheless. We all found each other at a music festival in Helsinki :P

    Now, at the age of 25 I am of the digital generation. Google did my homework. But I was still the kind of kid who liked to play outside. Sure, we had games consoles and we battered them so much I'm amazed they didn't melt. But I still enjoyed the outdoors. Playing, walking, swimming...real activities. I still do. And I must admit, I do find it very frightening when people just ten or even five years younger than me still prefer to lock themselves away with an Xbox.

    For me, the biggest downside to the digital age is safety. All this talk of how perverts pretend to be someone else online in order to make friends with children etc it just makes me sick! The more open and available the world becomes, the more prone we are to danger.

    Personally, I love online friendships. I can reach people I never thought possible in the past. But I always hang on to the hope that I can make them so much more real. To sit down with these people in a real cafe, having a genuine conversation. I use the Internet to find people, but I don't want to keep them in my "friends list". I want them in my life.

  2. Hey you don't know me but I'm best friends with Sarah L-B, she showed me your blog and thought it would be a good one for me to read as we have previously had discussions on this subject in the past.

    I found your blog very interesting, through personally in the past I have, had very harsh views on some use of certain social network sites. I have now found myself a member of these sames sites that I disliked so much which does make me very much a hypocrite but sadly the times are changing and no matter how stubborn I may be about it sometimes you just have to go with it.

    I should be willingly be apart of this technological society as I'm only 23 but still, I found it so hard to feel connected with someone through a screen and piece of machinery, it just felt cold somehow?

    Through also having past experience with online sites where it made me venerable to some seriously unhinged people and efforts made with people who were sadly less then worth it, I decided it was time to delete all my social networking sites.

    But eventually due to this time we live in, it also eventually left me cut off and left out from what was going on in the world and with the people I did care about.

    I do miss the days when people would pick up the phone to call you, the days when they would call round your house to see if you wanted to come out or round to their houses, the days when people had more imagination which sadly with some people technology makes them lack through becoming lazy.

    Don't get me wrong I Love computer games but because it was a way that me and my brothers or friends would connect! And again I'm up for anything that help people to connect with one another and bring them closer, especially when they live on the other side of the world!

    But through personal experiences as long as you don't use the internet and technology to exploit and harm people then I'm all for it.

    But I am still proud of the fact that I Haven't quite, fully given into that generation quite yet as I still enjoy the handwritten letters I regularly write to a friend.

    This person who of which I met through Sarah and Sarah met online but still cant help the satisfaction it gives me, to come home and see that handwritten letter there waiting for me.

  3. Wow! Thanks for your input both of you :) Of course, as with all my posts the humour is "the thing", but in this one, what I was trying to say in my rambling baffled way is that if you can "use" the internet rather than let it "use" you, then it actually be a very good thing.

    I was also trying to say that someone from my generation can be a bit flummoxed by how quickly everything moves now. I believe it has been said that we are now exposed to as much info in one day as someone a hundred years ago would in a whole lifetime!! Not sure if that is strictly true, but you get my drift. There is a lot to process!

    I am delighted to see that you both seem to understand and discern what is good and what is bad about cyberspace.

    In actual fact even I at my great age have met new friends through the internet and then have gone on to meet "for real" and, strangely enough, remain friends - and if any of you read this, you know who you are. lol

  4. Oh believe me, the rate of change is scary even for the likes of people my age. It's not so much the feeling of being unable to use new technology, so much as being saddened by the fact that many older forms will become forgotten and unappreciated :(

  5. Thank your for your reply to our comments, it would be really interesting to know other peoples views on this topic as sometimes I just feel like I was just born in the wrong era. I'm also terrible with computers, I.T used to cause me a great deal of distress it was never my strongest subject nether the less would be interesting to hear views from varied range of ages.

  6. Newfeathers Well, we shall see if anyone else has any thoughts on this.......

    You're right Sarah. As soon as we get used to one thing, it's been superceded by something that's supposed to be simpler, but actually isn't!!!

    Sometimes I think people invent things just because they can, and then we are told that's what we've needed all along and we just didn't know it. Gives a whole new meaning to "supply and demand".

  7. Thanks COD ! I'm just a cat...Every Era is the same !

  8. Mr Puddy, Even cats have to keep up with the tekky stuff. Austin doesn't generally like to boast, but he has a chip about his person. He thinks it's cool. I don't like to tell him it's because he's owned by me!

    Fin these are very interesting times indeed.

  9. Aunty Carolyn,
    I wish there's a new technology that can help us find Angelina quickly....come to think of it, people with so-called sophisticated technology/gadgetry took more than 10 years to find Osama..... oh well.... meowww....Nikki

    p.s. I get to blog until Angelina's return

  10. Hi Nikki, good of you to pop by. I left a comment on Angelina's blog. I wish there was a way too.

    Here in the UK most dogs and cats have a computer chip put in them, so that if they stray or get lost, they can be taken to a vet and get scanned. All owner's details are kept on a database. It makes it a lot easier to keep track.

  11. It will be Meow-speak as the cats are planning on taking over the world.:)

    You make some interesting points. We probably would never have met (maybe the airport) as we live in two different countries. Yet we haven't actually "met." It's more like we're pen-pals.

    I think of the changes that my Grandfather went thru in his life from horse and buggy to ATM machines and computers etc. What the future holds I don't know. Perhaps we will communicate more like cats. :)

  12. Ann we would pass in the street, but I feel I know you lol I guess that proves a point :>) Yes the changes in the last 30 years have been exponential. You wonder where it will go next?


We LOVE to hear from you! :)