Letter Language
Aura Wilming
143

There’s an argument going around that written forms of communication are inferior to face to face communication, because they lack important social cues such as tone and body language.

And that argument is bollox.

Over a decade ago I wrote the following about precisely that issue:

The post Interwebs generation must be the most intellectually destitute ever.
On the Internet I am obliged, it seems, to be nicer to people than they have any right to expect, lest it appear that I am being unreasonable [1] … because it is (allegedly) difficult to interpret textual communication, since it lacks all the subtle cues of body language and intonation.
Is it FUCK!
That’s a piss-poor excuse proffered by the charlatans who want to excuse their own ignorance, stupidity, laziness and (above all) rudeness by blaming you for their own behaviour.
Literature, great or otherwise, doesn’t come with emoticons — when you watch a performance of A Comedy Of Errors, or listen to an audiobook version of a novel, you don’t get a laughter-track … If you want to read a book and it has words in it that you don’t understand, you can’t complain to the author/publisher about the lack of spoonfeeding … You get a dictionary and look them up. [2]
Through the years, it has been my misfortune to encounter more freaks, flakes and fuck-ups on the Internet than I ever did in the Real World and actually waste time being unnecessarily civil to them, when in the Real World it would be considered no more than reasonable of me to have done everyone a favour, picked up the nearest chair and beaten them to death with it on the spot … never mind exchange a few less than complimentary words with them whilst outlining the miserable realities of their sad, tawdry little lives … expounding upon the lamentable fact that too many people had pissed in the genepool in which they were spawned … and holding up, in the harsh light of the Truth, the fact that, even given all their inherited shortcomings and unfortunate background, they were inexcusably pigshit thick, ignorant wastes of space without whom the World would be a far, far better place … the root, in fact, of all that is wrong with the World, with no redeeming features or justification for their way of being, no matter how hard you scrape the underside of the barrel looking for some excuse for them!
These people are no better at understanding you in the Real World with the extra cues — They’re cretins, plain and simple … with no vocabulary, no understanding of the meaning of the few grunts and squeals they have learned to emulate from the rest of us and no ability to reason whatsoever, no matter how many pictures you draw for them!
— 
[1] This is, of course, especially the case when I am talking to people via someone else’s blog … which is where, in fact, most of my online contact with others takes place — Fortunately, relatively few people have seen fit to befriend this profile … And those who have have, with only one or two (happpily now absent) exceptions, proven to be open-minded, mature individuals not suffering from rectally derived glaucoma.
[2] Text in an email/response is no different; get a fucking grip, you ill-mannered boors! Don’t try and blame me because you’re an ignorant cretin with no manners — the only insult around here is you!

<Ahem>

(It had been one of those days, I suspect)

I’m fairly certain my grandchildren will navigate the social cues in written communication as naturally as my parents did in-person communication.

Those of us with reading comprehension skills always did — see above.

In fact, in my experience, it’s the younger generations who have difficulty: without emoticons and emojis and smilies all over the shop they have no clue how to read what anyone means — before very much longer, I expect they’ll be adding laughter tracks onto their video communicated jokes. [1]

[1] Pre-recorded, of course — you won’t catch them skyping each other … just exchanging recorded responses to the videos they receive from others ... in response to the one they sent them previously … in response to … [2]

[2] Which is another thing I’ve been annoyed about forever now as well: rather than engage me in a two way text conversation … that I didn’t initiate … that will take an hour … and result in my getting RSI … and cost me money …

Call me!

It’s a phone, ffs!

It’ll take you at most two minutes to say the same amount … won’t give me Carpal Tunnel Syndrome … and, moreover, will not only cost you less but won’t cost me anything — because I won’t be paying for your conversation!

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