Friday, 31 July 2009

Observations on Communication

I received this message from another user of an online networking site:

hi there . your a photographer. I love photography. wish I can Improve my skill. I have really I good eye. but I don't have srl. Planning to buy a camera. what would you suggest? I also like photo retouching. maybe it can be my job. Don't have a job. right now. I' m sorry were not even friends. It's fine with me if like. love your photos. hope to here from you.

Then I read his profile:

Well i am a well educated guy who loves to travel and meet people. Creativity is key! I look for the challenges and the opportunities that make me a better person. I love my family and friends and I always there to support them. I am here to meet great people and to find common interests.

Ummm, wait a minute!

"Well educated"? Look at all those mistakes! (I cut-and-pasted his message to me as well as his profile text; so what you see is what he sent.)

Really makes you think, huh?

No, I didn't reply....

But I did start to think about the deteriorating state of the ability of people to communicate well in the 21st century.

It reminded me of an observation I made the other day about a news piece (if you call it that) I read online. This "news" was about William Shatner reading Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation speech on NBC's Tonight Show. This "news" was covered in Yahoo! and the Huffington Post. The news was featured the same in each, stating how Shatner read, in his own uniquely distinctive "beatnik" style, Palin's convoluted and incoherent language to hilarious effect.

Then I read the reader comments!

Wow, what a difference a website makes!

Yahoo! Buzz users were overwhelmingly conservative in their thinking. I know, I may want to reconsider the use of the word thinking there, but let's just leave it at that for a while. They used a large amount of profanity, name-calling, threats, and virtually all had copious amounts of spelling and grammar mistakes, most worse than in the message sent to me above.

They all wholeheartedly supported Palin and were downright hostile towards Shatner, who probably doesn't care what they think, since he's the one making all the money while they sit at home watching him on television!

Huffington Post
users are usually liberal or progressive thinkers. They use few profane words, rarely was there any name-calling, no threats, had maybe 1/4 the number of spelling and grammar mistakes, their sentence construction is more complex, and they display a more highly developed vocabulary.

This group appreciated the entertainment value and absurdity of hearing Palin's speech delivered in Shatnerian fashion. Face it: anything Shatner reads in that unique way of his is funny. I'd laugh listening to him read my address. What's wrong with him reading Palin's speech that way?

Now, this may show why Sarah Palin enjoys the popularity she does. Her train of thought is scattered in box cars all over the railroad yard. That makes her public speaking a bit of a nightmare. While politicians usually dance around a topic, rather than addressing it directly, her speaking style is comprised of words that have her dancing, tumbling, skiing, rolling, and orbiting about! Finding the message within is something akin to locating a needle in a haystack - a 12th century haystack uncovered in an archaeological dig that may, or may not have had, a needle in it. She includes just enough what have come to be termed "folksy" sound bytes to keep her base audience cheering, regardless of the chaos between said bytes. Her voice is just grating enough to remind listeners of radio and television pundits.

Actually, the loudmouth, screaming, conservative political pundits talk radio in the US has come to depend upon so much the past 15-20 years have likely created the tone of hostility in the message boards online, especially in Yahoo!'s Buzz. The tone is much more moderate in the Huffington Post.

I'd just like it if the people who post comments would learn to pay attention to the psell cehck, use proper! punctuation; USE CAPITAL LETTERS ONLY WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE INSTEAD OF ALL THE TIME (the same holds true for lower case. all computers have the ability to type in both upper and lower case, believe it or not!), and sTop InteRmiXinG the LoweR caSe and UppEr CasE lettErs bEcAuSe ThaT rEaLlY mAkEs ReADinG hArD.

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