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e-mail killing snail mail, killing the human within

 
 
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 03:13 pm
I remember the days when I used to write actual letters that you sent via U.S. post. And I remember the feeling of receiving a hand written letter.

I miss those days! :Glasses:

Anyone else sick of boring, impersonal, mechanical e-mails littered with LOL, TTYL and WTF? I really feel that over the years the use of e-mail has taken away greatly from the sense of being human. Yes, it is very fast and cheap but at what cost?
For personal contacts, sometimes I'd rather just get something in the mail, you know? A letter I can actually hold. I find it strange that I don't even know what some friends' handwriting look like.

And maybe this is because I'm very disocciative and have a very vague, fleeting sense of self (maybe partially thanks to this phenomenan of the internet.)

What are your thoughts about the fleeting days of snail mail?
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nameless
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 12:49 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
FireWalkWithMe;76134 wrote:
e-mail killing snail mail, killing the human within

Transcend mere humanity!

Long live the weBorg!

(Resistence is futile!)
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 12:55 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
Noone is stopping you from writing. Personally I used to write to a person once a year if that but when mobiles came in we could keep in touch via text, I think it's a great way to keep in touch, she can hear from me everyday as opposed to never.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 08:42 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
While I don't think it's the end of human-goodness that letters aren't used as much any more, I agree that there is something lost (so to speak). That physicality of holding paper, marked with the hand of someone wanting to talk to you, the time and effort it takes to put something together - and having these communique's as keepsakes or what-not.

Sure, I like the idea of it all. But again, I don't think this is the End of Goodness incarnate.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
Lily
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 09:00 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
I never got any letters or wrote any (hmm... there might be a connection)
, so I can't say I miss them, but it would be nice with a good old-fashioned letter now and then. At least at christmas. And just to clearify, a christmas card is not something you can send with an e-mail, that's not okey. :ya-think:
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 09:43 am
@Lily,
I have been working in a secondary school (11-16 year olds) for the last two weeks - just started as a special needs teaching/student assistant - and I am seeing, what I think is, a massive shift from how my age group wrote at school, only 6 or so years ago. It is no so much incorrect as lazy, illogical and confusing. For example, common phrases which cause my eyebrow to raise: "That work that I done", "ain't done nothing" (double negatives are massively common in the children's writing) "that thing he did", "the tree was like massive".

I think we are starting to see a knock on effect, wherein, students are growing accustomed to predictive text, spell checking and, above all, quick writing, and thus their formal writing is becoming lazy and a reflection of they way the speak. I understand that language is an evolving system, but I'd hate to think that something as annoying as the unwitting use of double negatives could become a part of every day language when these kids grow up and work in schools themselves.

So in some sense, yes, I see digital technology - specifically e-mail, texting and all the predictive and checking software included - killing off a part of what I considered sensible and formal communication.

Regards,
Dan.

P.S. In a marginally related vein, I was watching a UK TV show - 'Countdown' - the other afternoon, when a word was put forward as a correct answer. It was 'Eejit'. A variation of 'idiot', based on Irish pronunciation and spelled phonetically apparently.
It was listed in the dictionary and named a correct, English answer to a word puzzle. Is it just me, or is this a bit too much?
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:01 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
I agree, if you're going to write a piece in the acadamic sense then I think it should be as grammatically correct as it possibly can be. The language used in emails, texts,etc, shouldn't overspill into written pieces of work, it's not professional.
0 Replies
 
Lily
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:26 am
@de budding,
de_budding;76347 wrote:
I have been working in a secondary school (11-16 year olds) for the last two weeks - just started as a special needs teaching/student assistant - and I am seeing, what I think is, a massive shift from how my age group wrote at school, only 6 or so years ago. It is no so much incorrect as lazy, illogical and confusing. For example, common phrases which cause my eyebrow to raise: "That work that I done", "ain't done nothing" (double negatives are massively common in the children's writing) "that thing he did", "the tree was like massive".

I think we are starting to see a knock on effect, wherein, students are growing accustomed to predictive text, spell checking and, above all, quick writing, and thus their formal writing is becoming lazy and a reflection of they way the speak. I understand that language is an evolving system, but I'd hate to think that something as annoying as the unwitting use of double negatives could become a part of every day language when these kids grow up and work in schools themselves.

So in some sense, yes, I see digital technology - specifically e-mail, texting and all the predictive and checking software included - killing off a part of what I considered sensible and formal communication.

Totally agree with you, I think it's sad when people make such obvious mistakes. I think most languages faces those kind of problems now. I don't like the language evolving if it takes something away from the language. Lots of the people in my generation has serious problems with when it should be him, and not he (in swedish). Ex. "I gave it to he" instead of "I gave it to him". :nonooo: It's sad. More books to the people, so they can learn their grammar.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 05:47 pm
@Lily,
Standardized grammar is a historically very recent thing in comparison to language. In most natural states of language where writing and institutionalized education have not artificially codified language, thereby fossilizing it, language dialects can be distinct in groups as small as a nuclear family. Codified "proper" language is nice but it is not natural, it is highly arbitrary and artificial. The issue here is the same issue all generations have with the generations that follow, X generation is corrupting our stuff. Hate to tell you that our parnets thought the same of us and theirs of them. Writing and codification of language retards its evolution but it does not stop it, the e-mail and texting is simply a technology that modifies and re-codifies the norms of communication. The sense of loss one feels in the OP situation is the sense of betrayal one feels when their norm is replaced.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 06:01 pm
@GoshisDead,
What bothers me about this phenomena is the dearth of art in the writing. I'm certainly no poet, but these kids are non-literate.

Letters is a dieing art, and our civilization is at stake, assuming we had one to begin with.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 06:08 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Wait there will be LOL art, its inevitable, its just not the same art as you appreciate, my grandmother thought the Beatles were the devil
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 06:11 pm
@GoshisDead,
There will be art - but will there be good art using these techniques that does not satirize that aspect of popular culture?
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:45 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Almost everything we consider high/good art was at one time popular culture, much of it satirical or tongue in cheek. Its the nature of cultural evolution. The letter is dying because of the technological advances coupled with the practicality of new communication styles that have adapted to a current way of life and or standard of living. Language and writing, not to mention art and music, are adaptive survivors. They are part of what makes us human, well maybe not so much the writing (from a paleoanthropological perspective). All the kicking and screaming egregious offense taking in the world will not change the likelihood of LOL art being considered high art one day, possibly even regarded sometime in the future as we view the Aenid, or the Illiad.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:02 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
FireWalkWithMe;76134 wrote:
I remember the days when I used to write actual letters that you sent via U.S. post. And I remember the feeling of receiving a hand written letter.

I miss those days! :Glasses:

Anyone else sick of boring, impersonal, mechanical e-mails littered with LOL, TTYL and WTF? I really feel that over the years the use of e-mail has taken away greatly from the sense of being human. Yes, it is very fast and cheap but at what cost?
For personal contacts, sometimes I'd rather just get something in the mail, you know? A letter I can actually hold. I find it strange that I don't even know what some friends' handwriting look like.

And maybe this is because I'm very disocciative and have a very vague, fleeting sense of self (maybe partially thanks to this phenomenan of the internet.)

What are your thoughts about the fleeting days of snail mail?


When I want to write a letter, I do so. And sometimes I receive letters.
0 Replies
 
FireWalkWithMe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:14 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
Those of you who scoff and say that no one's stopping me don't seem to get the whole picture (my fault.)
I stopped writing certain people because they actually respond to me in an EMAIL! OR they might instant message me and mention the letter but never write back.

That is why it's dwindled down to nothing. I actually feel very offended when someone responds to a letter that I took the time to write, send via post, PAY for... via e-mail.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 02:33 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
Yes that's not nice, I know what you mean, it's nice to receive letters but I wrote only once a year so texting means my Nanny could hear from me every day.
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jul, 2009 08:16 am
@Caroline,
First off, we should definitely start a pen friend vault on this site so any one who wishes to write can always bend a fellow members ear. My hand writing is poor, but I for one am always happy to receive and write letters.


And to to those who brutishly assume all change that is held in disdain, to be held so because of an ulterior hatred for change and the inevitable 'generation gap': spell checkers have had a profoundly negative effect on the spelling of quite a few students. I don't look down on this, tsk-tsk, tut-tut and tap my foot begrudgingly with crossed arms because I see the language of yesteryear drifting away like some bitter-romantic old fart (btw I am only 21!!!). I simply struggle to read the kids' work because I'm constantly being staggered by the interchanging of our and are; because I'm trying to unravel double negatives and whether or not a student who as written 'I don't want no homework', does in fact want it or not; and because the amount of kids who are too hurry-sick to even look at the list of recommended spellings and simply click the top one. For example: Probly (a very frequent misspelling of probably, reflecting the kids' pronunciation of it) returns Problem in MS word as the first spelling correction. Impatience resulting from hurry-sickness (a term coined by James Gleick in his book FSTER which describes how technology has conditioned human patience) kicks in and they simply click the top result - 'problem' - and I am again confused and rereading a sentence to try and decipher the meaning. I see a big difference here between my disdain for the students' youthful ways and my disdain for what is now frequently being diagnosed as dyslexia. Could there not be more to this? Especially regarding the exponential growth of technology and its increased application in the classroom.

Regards,
Dan.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jul, 2009 09:05 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
That's really bad that childrens spelling and grammar are worsening because of things such as spell check, can you not teach them to not be so lazy?
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Jul, 2009 10:08 am
@Caroline,
Teach students not to be lazy? I don't know about that :bigsmile:.

One solution would be to make the spell checkers better. If the spell checkers could evolve with language and be attuned to each individual user's most common mistakes and lingual issues, there would be no apparent problem, right? The auto-correct function, for example, will add an extra 'M' to the word 'accommodate', if it is misspelled with only one! In this scenario the student doesn't even register the mistake, and not even the teacher can detect the mistake and bring it the students attention later. So if we made sure every single misspelling eventuality was accounted for and auto-corrected we would be onto something.

Alternatively, we could remove them from the computers altogether. After all, is it not ridiculous that English GCSE and A-level course work is often spelled and auto-corrected by a robot? It would certainly teach 'em not to be lazy when all their course work came back marked down for spelling errors and what not. Although I have a feeling that this is something which may be overlooked by markers, as spelling isn't specifically part of the GCSE or A-Level teaching syllabus, and anyone who struggles this much with spelling at the age of 16 or up is more than likely to be considered to have learning difficulties or dyslexia, resulting in funding for someone like me to sit in lessons with them and help them out; the use of laptops, and thus spell checkers, in lesson; and even, more time in exams!
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 05:48 am
@FireWalkWithMe,
I don't know... from what I've seen, most people don't even use the spell check, let alone lose 'skill' from it.

Something else: Writing can still become a well-developed art - as well as the craft of using the english language in general - in email. So, I don't think that all's lost, I just like the physicality, the artistry of using the hand to mark on paper and that personal touch.

Sentimentality, perhaps.
 

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