Monday 7 April 2014

Language and Friendship (reblog from 2011)

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

This is a post I originally published in May 2011 when I had about two and a half readers and as I have now been absent without leave for a week or three (we are fine, just tired. Thank you so much to all those who have been in touch:) I thought this wordy digression might keep folk amused for a second or two. Austin and I hope to be blogging, visiting and commenting again very soon xxx

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?