Sunday, July 6, 2014
Terse Words, Smiley Faces
My friend Mike and I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago about my new smart phone. I told him that I prefer to send an email from my laptop where I can collect my thoughts and use a full-fledged keyboard over the little tap, tap, tap of my smart phone. He noted the increasing use of brief texts to convey our thoughts in the work place and how the texts are often so brief that they appear terse, thus causing the need to use emoticons, those little faces with smiles, quizzical looks, humorous expressions, sad eyes, etc. to ensure that our words (or lack thereof) aren't misconstrued. Right about that point, I missed the days of land line phones with rotary dials, cursive writing, manual typewriters, mimeograph machines, letters written with care and sent through the mail, and longer, more thoughtful ways of communicating with each other. By our grunting a few words into a text and then adding a smiley face to ensure that the recipient understands our tone seems a disservice to and desecration of our beautiful language. It's as if we've returned to the days of cave art when symbols had to express our thoughts. One has little choice but to hop on board today's technology train, but I'll try not to forget the loveliness of communication and how a few choice words still mean more to me than a smiley face will ever do.