MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “generation”

Generation Gaps

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You know, when we were young, our only way of communicating with each other was if we were both home and both had a landline. Otherwise we were sort of lost in our own worlds”.

The young girl looked up from her mobile phone.

She was astounded by the truth of her grandfather’s words. She lived in an age where you could communicate with anyone anywhere in a matter of seconds. She didn’t know what it was like to not have a phone in hand and for her it was unthinkable to not be able to find out at any given time where anyone was and what they were doing. Mostly because her generation voluntary gave out that information online.

So what happened if you wanted to find out about someone but didn’t want them to know?” she asked coyly.

Well, you would have to ask someone who knew them too”.

But what if you didn’t want anyone to know?”

Like stalking?” her grandfather put it frankly.

Well, sort of…” she blushed.

There was no such thing in my time. If you’re relationship broke with someone, you tried to fix it. And if that didn’t work then you just got out of touch with them. And that was the end of it”.

The girl said nothing. She looked at her grandfather trying to imagine what that was like. Her generation was used to stalking each other on social media and getting obsessed with each other’s posts, overanalyzing, overthinking and overstressing. Everything in exaggeration. What was it like to not have to think about all this? To simply not care? To be calm?

Her grandfather was almost 100. He would still go out for long walks and had the patience of a mule.

She was agitated by even a fly’s buzz.

One time she had asked him if he never worries about anything. His reply was: “would it help?”

“To be calm is the highest achievement of the self” – Zen proverb

IITYWTMWYBMAD?* (or How the Internet created a new language)

ACRONYMS1Once upon a time, in this same galaxy and not far away, there was a period when the world had no internet, there were no mobile devices, no smartphones (not even not-so-smart-phones), no tablets, no PSP, nothing of the sort… Yes, that was possible and it did happen, although today hardly anyone can recall what that was like. The Internet and the ‘connecting people’ technology has taken over our lives to such an extent that now it is impossible to imagine a world without them.

But have you ever considered the impact that this new technology has on language? The very onset of the Internet itself sowed the seeds of a chat language that would soon branch out across all spectrums and propagate the already numerous cut-down words. Abbreviations and acronyms are used so commonly in everyday language, that sometimes you don’t even realize that you are using them. For example, e.g.  and etc. are two of the most commonly used acronyms; as are SOS, ASAP, RSVP, AKA; or even things we see daily all around us: Ave., Str., Blvd.  There are also the political ones: EU, USA, NATO, ECB, IMF, ESM, NAFTA, ASEAN, Mercosur, are a few examples. Then there is the computer language of jpegs, mp3s, pdfs, docs and all those types. And don’t forget to use cc. and bcc. when sending emails – although not literally carbon copies, they are still important!

Before broadband connections developed, during the early days of the Internet, users developed short-hand writing, mostly acronyms, to conserve bandwidth and to make typing faster and easier. A whole new language developed as a result, which rapidly progressed into SMS writing and all sorts of other written or verbal communication. It is dubious whether this has become due to a force of habit or because the next generation is getting lazier as it goes…

Internet acronyms (or slang) proliferate by the day. From the ‘oldies’ BRB, FYI, TLC (not to be confused with the BLT meal), THX, OMG, WTF, ICT, etc., there are a range of others sprouting all over the web, that sometimes you need to actually Google them to understand what they mean. BFF is the celebrity and girlish favourite, while LOL has so many variations it’s not even ROTFL funny! GR8 and L8R show how you can also introduce numbers to your speech, while IMHO (in my honest/humble opinion) is the variation of TBH (to be honest). Then there’s the frat (see? = Fraternity) favourite – BYOB – which can be widely interpreted as Bring Your Own Bed, or Bring Your Own Booze, depending on what kind of party you’re going to.  There are even some acronyms that take longer to write than if you spelt out the entire phrase in the first place: MIL-TFD-41 seems like a space formula, PMFJI for some reason springs a set of pyjamas to mind, while TANSTAAFL seems too much work simply to spell out that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

All in all, we are bombarded by all these short-hand versions of words and phrases that are supposed to shorten the time needed to communicate the message, but sometimes that very msg is lost not in translation, but in comprehension – the time gained typing it is actually spent double in searching what it really means! So you see the Internet has created a new language. But we need to keep up with it, if we too are to evolve alongside it. Even businesses have caught up with this trend now – do you know the difference between B2B and BforB for example?

Well, TTYL then! XOXO

* If I Tell You What This Means Will You Buy Me A Drink?

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ

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