Gone are the days when people would use pens to put their thoughts to paper. They would write long essays and poetry to give vent to their creative faculties. Pens and books were valued and considered to be precious belongings. Friends and near and dear ones would exchange long letters containing a range of heartfelt emotions. Poetry and literature played a very important role in the lives of educated people. In an essence, those days were the days of penmanship. But all that changed with the advent of interconnected computing devices.
People are no longer putting their pens to paper. Instead, they started texting and their texting doesn’t comply either with standard spelling or usage. Now we are passing through an era of not only paperless and penless offices but also paperless and penless homes. The advent of the digital revolution has turned many people into internet addicts.
This does not mean people are not reading. They are certainly reading, but they no longer have the patience to read long texts. Their reading had become shallow and incomplete. Because they are inundated with a profusion of information that is available online and the search engines provide them with an incredibly wide range of choices as far as the sources of information are concerned. And the webzines don’t have enough time to explore the innumerable links that appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). So we as a society have transited from an era of information scarcity to one of information abundance, and we are clueless as to how to deal with the staggering abundance.
These are the days of snippets and sound bites. When we watch television, all we get is a bunch of sound bites. And while we browse the internet we get to see snippets. This ultra-brevity doesn’t allow us to get a clear and precise picture of the actual happenings. So the news we get through various websites and television channels is not only ambiguous but also not completely trustworthy.
The emergence of the social media has truly revolutionised the way we get to know things and put across our views. On Facebook people started sharing even those things that were hitherto considered to be private. However, irrespective of the things they share, they are invariably frugal with words and profuse with pictures. When it comes to the micro-blogging site, Twitter, people have to stick to the limit of just 140 characters to express themselves. So the Twitterati, in order to put across their thoughts within the specified limits, have developed some novel ways and expressions to put things in perspective. The reasons behind Twitter’s popularity are the ultra-brevity it promotes and the real-time updates it provides. So the social media has also played a key role in promoting texting, which is full of ultra-brevity.
During my school days, our teachers taught us to write an introduction first and conclusion last while writing an essay. However, these days, the web content writers are using the inverted pyramid method, following which they are incorporating their most important points in the first hundred words. Because, the netizens don’t have the patience to read beyond that. Sometimes I feel that had Hamlet been around, he would have texted “2 B r nt 2 B, tht iz d ?”.
Keywords: mobile texting, digital revolution, internet, art of writing
Read this opinion at : How texting sends penmanship packing
Source: The Hindu – Open Page