I am a huge fan of the social networking. The communicating in text. The emails. Why? Because it is not always conducive to speak to you. I cannot drop EVERYthing and roll out of bed to meet you for coffee and listen to your recent sordid adventures in <abstract feelings quest>.
The real-time conversational aspects of social networking and text messages have opened up many individuals’ abilities to communicate in written form. That casual, free-flowing conversation is the closest that written word will come to spoken conversation.Yes, at times the gratuitous acronyms and abbreviations can chop up the flow of the language. Used effectively, however, they can guide the reader into certain moods, and set the tone for a conversation.
And this, I love.
The in-between spaces of my days are colored with snippets of conversations: hilarious, snarky, clever, sincere, enlightening, embarrassing, enraging, loving. I can hear you speaking every word to me, in that special way that only you do.
I use tone to determine if someone I haven’t yet met in real life is worth my time. I look for inconsistencies to determine how straight-forward they are being with me. I look at word usage and flow to determine if someone is “fluffing” our interactions to appear more intelligent, or if that is just their general style.
Does this limit the pool of individuals with whom I will pursue additional interaction? Sure. Is this a bad thing? No. Yes, I’ll admit that there are wonderful relationships I’ve forged with individuals that lack the textual acuity to grab my attention, just as there are suavely-written shitbags with whom I’ve wasted much too much time. It’s not a fool-proof plan. However, what social filter is? I’m not of the belief that I need to be friends with EVERY single brilliant person out there; I can just appreciate that EVERY single one of my close friends is, in fact, brilliant.
This is also why I will never be a “Grammar Nazi”, despite what you may assume about me. My English degree is in linguistics. This means, essentially, that I know EXACTLY how inconsequential those silly dead white-man rules are, and don’t even get me started on English orthography. I love slang, and will defend non-standard dialects via hair-pulling and sternum punching, if necessary. Fo’ Realsies.
See, I recognize that not everyone is formally trained. Most people don’t need to do much more than be able to communicate a concrete instruction. It’s about function, over form.
It’s about how you use the tools at your disposal.
We are not made up of speeches and perfected anecdotes. We are our awkward pauses, overabundant ellipses, and autocorrect slips.