We say a lot these days. We e-mail, we tweet, we facebook, we text, we instant message, we skype… and we still meet face to face, gossip over tea or coffee, meet in the pub, talk on the phone and swear at the tv (that isn’t just me right?)
But how much of what we say additionally thanks to the myriad of electronic communications is worthwhile, interesting or necessary?
I am bombarded by e-mails every day, mostly junk mail in my personal account, but at work, sometimes, we can have an elongated e-mail conversation which ends up with a finalised piece of text that in all honesty if I had spent proper time looking at, rather than just pinging random suggestions around the ether, I could probably have revised in half the time.
And then there’s this blog, where I blether inanely and other people seem to read my witterings (for which I am very grateful). But why do I feel the need to pour all these words out onto the screen? It is different than if I just wrote a private journal. It’s more thoughtful for a start, and less bitchy. But what value do my words add to the world? to my world?
I think we’ve speeded up life too much. And that’s partly down to the self same e-comms I have referred to. But it means we rarely stop to just think and maybe exchange a thoughtful moment with a friend or a colleague. The incessant call of the mobile phone, with it’s ability to tell you if you’ve received any kind of communication instantly, means we don’t seem to live in the moment. A small part of us is often divorced from the here and now, and wondering if we’ve been retweeted, or if that e-mail was replied to yet, or remembering we forgot to reply to a facebook message.
I’m not saying I think this is altogether a bad thing. (cf previous posts on lovely facebook and twitter friends), but it does make me think that we forget the value of words, and that we should take time to consider them, and how they come across to others. Especially electronically, where there is no body language, no hand writing, no context to elucidate the meaning.
Meanwhile, why do I blether as I do on this blog? (I might call it a bleg). In truth it’s mostly to allow the crazy thoughts in my head some room and let them out of my brain so new, hopefully more useful ones, can fit in.
Additionally it forces me to coalesce ideas, rather than them being free floating clouds of moments of fragments that never quite mesh and thus continually frustrate me.
The added benefit, which I am quaintly delighted by, is that people I wouldn’t have thought would be that in tune with my ramblings seem to identify with my outpourings. Which makes me feel connected, and less crazy. But why that should have to happen in the ether comes back to the speed of life issue, and I suppose the distant connections issue. Face to face meetings seem to get swallowed up with catching up on the day to day, with anecdotes, with gossip. We’ve lost the face to face space where we talked about real stuff, but we’ve gained a whole new vast world where when we talk about it, our friends from all over the world can join in, as can people we’ve never met (for good or ill).
Which is a more upbeat ending than I imagined when I started typing. And still, I think my overall message is that we should value words. They’re important. But how, when and where we use them is more important still. We should give them the respect they’re due.