Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Like A Swan That's Here And Gone

Like it or not, the internet has changed the face of communication forever. Most obviously, it has changed the way we interact socially, evidenced by you reading this in the first place, me posting it on facebook, me still not being entirely sure what the point of a tumblr is, etc.

However, it's increasingly apparent that the internet has become more than a place for fantasy sports, looking up music videos, and untagging yourself from unflattering candids. Programs such as Thinkature and many others have made the world of business of all kinds, not just stocks and other stuff loosely based on Michael Douglas movies, thoroughly immersed in the online medium as a means of finding and sharing information, recruiting and interacting with others in a professional setting, and doing a lot of jobs effectively. Indeed, the value of the interface the Internet offers a workplace is proven as businesses, government agencies, and, I assume, schools make the effort to become paperless institutions over the coming years. Time frames vary, but sooner rather than later. My question is: Will increased reliance on the Internet result in a more formal and greater "standard of language", if you will, online in all mediums.

Now, language is eternal and ever-evolving. There is a reason why "unfriend" is now a term largely recognized, 'their' can apply to a singular person, i.e. "The student lost their pencil on the subway." And there's a reason we don't say thou and thee... usually, though I'm quite guilty, espessially when buzzed enough. But while the knowledge of the basics of written language are still used to an extent. It seems as though proper English usage is limited to the world of academia. Even then, take it from me, it wasn't all that intact. With the changing expectations of online communication, the value of written language by a society as a whole may again be on the rise.

Are we, perhaps, standing on the precipice of a Renaissance of digital language as the contexts in which we work with online media shift from recreational to professional? Surely we will never live in a time where the final "OMG" or "brb" has been texted (barring, of course, an Armageddon undoubtedly associated with some sort of Kardashian wedding), but to live in a time where "texting language" (which has a real name that I specifically learned about Sophomore year but can't think of for the life of me) such as l8r lmao, stfu, is an endangered species and coherent and complete sentences are encouraged with fragments and offensively poor grammar is frowned upon online may not be too far out of reach.

Already the clever commercials of un-hip parents and grannies saying "idk, my bff, Jill." have become passe. On one hand this could show just how deeply this style of language has infiltrated our lexicon, but on the other, no longer is this digital language a positive gimmick worthy of being exploited for commercial gain. The tides of change may well already be in motion.

I'm curious if the contemporary state of digital writing will become as much of phase in an adolescent's life as sucking your thumb, or rebelling against your parents, or whatever other cliche milestones of youth you'd like to toss in my top hat of generalizations. (Yeah, it's a top hat... deal with it.) That is to say, kids behave and communicate in this way because they don't know any better yet and will eventually outgrow it.

Even if I'm right, this transition would take place over the course of at least a couple decades at a near negligible pace. However, even if I'm wrong, it's interesting to ponder.

Somehow at camp today, someone asked who the blue guy that Grover used to wait-on on Sesame Street. I knew it was Mr. Johnson. The kids and overhearing counselors were a little surprised at my intimate knowledge of the Street. I quickly explained that for one of the pieces I wrote senior year of college, I wrote a story about what it would be like if a few of our favorite muppets took a trip to the psychologist. First of all it was really cool to look back on my childhood in that context, Secondly, I explained that while most of my peers spent finals week looking up very academic things, I spent hours on muppet wikipedia doing equally important research. As a result, I'm pretty well versed on the ins and outs of Sesame Street. You might say I have quite a bit of street cred. To this day, it remains one of the things I've written that I hold pretty dear. Also that semester, I wrote a story about Disney Princesses and Jasmine getting fat. I did a similar amount of research, and likely got a similar amount of strange looks in the library.

However, my favorite moment (least favorite at the time, but now it's fine) of public research was when I was searching for a Sports Illustrated cover to use for my senior thesis. Yet, no matter how innocently I phrased my image search, all that came up were the swimsuit issues and the models associated with them. Obviously, they were in some pretty suggestive poses and I remember a few audible grunts of displeasure from my peers as I can only wonder what they thought I was up to in the middle of the public library. I was pretty embarrassed, but like, laughing at the same time at the ridiculousness of the situation. An interesting memory I won't soon forget, nor will the people in the library I imagine.

Anyway, long story short, after that I was inspired to make muppets out of pipe cleaners with the kids, I chose Oscar, while other kids took on Elmo, Zoe, and Cookie Monster respectively. I was pretty pleased with the final product. One of the few times I've ever felt proficient in art.

If you're interested in those stories, I'd be happy to send you a copy for free. If you want me to make you a muppet, I'd be happy to for a small fee. I smell a career path.

gtg ttyl ilu... jk, but srsly... htc.

Advice of the day: Fail is not a noun and 98 out of a hundred times, your life is not epic. Please be quiet.

Song of the Day: We're Not Gonna to Take It-Gov't Mule (Obviously a great Who track in its own right, but to let Warren Haynes have his take on it really takes it to another level.)

Jazz Song of the Day: I Found A Million Dollar Baby-Dizzy Gillespie

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