Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Communication and Cyberspace

It is funny how people adjust to the use of new media forms without coming to think what those forms really entail or how they are related to or differentiated by older media forms. It is a process highly unconscious, and especially for us young people who live in this transitional period of digitization of every form of media, it is relatively difficult, as we live in the middle of 2 contradictory worlds: Traditional and New media.

Reading this week's chapters made me think how revolutionary every aspect of the Internet is. From the e-mail, which was once considered a luxury service and is now the norm, to new language codes that have been created as a result of new ways of Internet communication. I found particularly interesting the points made about the very nature of the e-mail, and how it lacks contextualization, at least compared to conventional letters. I never came to think that e-mail is in essence the combination of written and oral language.

Although its externalized form is clearly written, its internal nature resembles more that of oral speech. The style of writing in an e-mail depends of course on the purpose of the e-mail. If it's a formal e-mail, then it has to lack emoticons and all signs that are fit for a more informal e-mail. I believe that emoticons have saved people from a lot of trouble that would be caused by the impersonal communication that computers are characterized by. Since you do not communicate with somebody in person, you have no other way of indicating when you are being sarcastic for example. So in other words, it is a written facial expression.

On the other hand, all those new ways of communication via technological means have increased, according to my opinion, people's illiteracy. There are hundreds of studies proving that today's young people have much more difficulty spelling words correctly, compared to older generations. Everybody who uses social media platforms as Facebook, Twitter or other forms of instant messaging has at least once come across "slaughtered" words or sentences in terms of grammar syntax or spelling.

I speak from personal experience as my language skills have gotten much worse, since I started using all those new types of media. The conclusion is that you cannot have a revolution without any casualties at all. I guess this is the price for the Internet era that we live in.


  1. Each new medium eventually leads to new codes of communication based on the medium's unique biases.

  2. Revolution...when I hear this world I think of the French Revolution, American Revolution, etc. All these pivotal points in human history where people rose up against the higher powers. True we are in a time where technology is changing the world, but I guess because we can become content so easily with anything I feel a little blase about a technological revolution. I wonder if any of my other classmates would agree?

  3. Good point about new forms of communication destroying the language skills of our youth. There too much abbreviation these days. Kids are getting lazy. I laugh out loud, I'll be right back. Talk to you later.

  4. I never really thought about new technology contributing to illiteracy. It makes complete sense to me. Kids today always look for an easier way out in alot of things, but spelling is one that shouldnt be messed with.