Welcome to today – (written on March 11th) the year is 2009. We, the people of Earth, live in a world that has reached a degree of global communication that is leagues beyond what our predecessors thought possible. Even as I type these words, and far before I publish this page for your viewing, the degree to which that is fact will change, and somewhere, in some far off land, the “very” latest in global communication will hit the markets, claiming to bring us closer together as a race.
On the Net, the two contemporary crazes are MySpace and Facebook. They are personalized web-pages where one can post pictures, videos, comments, games and individualized backgrounds denoting how they want themselves seen by the world. Friends can be added to personal pages and, with a few clicks or just a number of icon-taps, you can chat with another who, geographically, is eight or eighty countries away from you. These aren’t web-sites that just a few people have; these are domains to which millions of people (yes, the author included) have signed on and made a part of their daily lives.
Let us not discount these contributions as social obstructions, but modern conveniences. The truth is that the youth of today (those that are more versed in the ways of computers and the age thereof) are able to remain in contact with a greater number of people from their past and present than are the baby-boomers and those of generations past. It is with this developed ability (that has spanned world-wide) that we have become more tightly-knit as a race, some would say. With the click of a mousepad, we’re able to reach out to another who’s a part of another culture, region, language and breed of human. We are able to establish and maintain contact daily with whom, forty years ago, it would take at least a couple of weeks. We are gaining convenience in our lives at an alarming rate. We are getting and keeping friends abroad, and we’re getting faster.
But, in our haste, we may have overlooked one of the prices of speed of communication. and that is a loss of eloquence and appearance.
It is doubtless that the written note has stood as the cornerstone of communication throughout the history books of the modern world. Yet, those baby-boomers that are scared to use a computer are also, quite possibly, the last of our kind (in the United States) to remember being taught penmanship – the art of the written letter. It’s something that, in today’s world, is almost nothing more than a whisper of a memory. Hand-written notes today are, for the most part, what is colloquially deemed “chicken scrap”. ‘Crossing one’s Ts and dotting one’s Is’ isn’t as keenly understood by the youth (who make up the laity in this realm of understanding) of today as it was to their parents.
It is an art form that, with every iPhone sold, becomes more of a relic. Well -written documents can oftentimes be seen with more frequency on the History Channel than they can in common day occurrences.
This is not to say that the advent of our future’s technological gifts are not to be welcomed. No, no; there are many wondrous comforts and pleasures for which our contemporary computer scientists, architects and inventors are to be lauded. Let us not forget, however, that we came from a society in which strong communicable skills were held by those that knew how to properly wield a pen. There is no doubt, that our world, our societies, our kind is changing. Yet, it may just be noted that the way we communicate today will show our progeny how we valued the tools of our beginnings.