Writing chart compliments of my childhood friend Tracey Lee from her Facebook post
I couldn’t finish writing this entire note (below) as I soon tired of writing by hand. 😦
Recently my friend Tracey Lee posed a picture on Facebook of the cursive handwriting letters taught back in elementary school for most of us non-digital natives. I decided to try and write this note using those conventions to see how well I could actually do it. This task was made even extra-special as I used the writing paper commonly found in the educational institutions in Chile. It’s not the American college-ruled paper, but in fact the type of paper typically used in schools for graphing.
Quite surprised would be an understatement, particularly since I didn’t realize how the capital letter “Q” was actually supposed to be written. Capital Z and lower case k also required special care and attention to write. Oh dear, what is to happen to our upcoming digital natives who have learned more use of computers and iphones versus handwritten letters? For all I know, some of these letters may in fact be connected incorrectly. Wow! The adaptive changes we make in writing, language, and life, I find most fascinating.
What does the evolution of communication tell us about the future and our ability to adapt to it?
Continued 7/4/14. I’m realizing that if I don’t blog on a topic right away it’s easy to get “lost-in-the-sauce” that is my life. I think our communication forms have expanded to include more of our spatial (i.e., visual) intelligence, such that the written word does not evoke the level of emotion that a meme or picture does for digital natives. Additionally, most communication forms that are not so dependent on the written text, appear to circulate more widely in the era of the internet and technology. Taking time to hand write a note is becoming quaint and will likely go the way of the carrier pigeon for delivering love letters. Ha ha! Why write a note when you can communicate your love in a Vine or YouTube video. Perhaps a bit cynical, but nonetheless likely true.
What are the potential consequences?
I recently watched the movie “Her” starring the actor Joaquin Phoenix. He developed an emotionally intense relationship with essentially a voice in a supposed “smart” computer program that responded to human cues. The outcome of the “relationship” caused him and others using the technology to experiences a kind of weird cognitive dissonance as all of the computers just suddenly informed users that they were going away, leaving their bewildered lovers along to process their emotional turmoil “como a/el sola/o“. This led me to think that perhaps there is a dangerous potential in our disconnectedness of not “touching” each other in meaningful ways like a handwritten note. Our only communicating with each other via technical forms like the internet and blogs (again irony) is sorta inhumane.
Nevertheless, this new reality and our changing social context reminds me to be sure to reconnect with those that I love and care about in authentic ways. I know that the birthday cards and little notes that I physically send to my nephews at times (with money included) and handwritten notes were likely tossed on a table somewhere and the cash quickly pocketed. But, I also know (in my minds eye) that in reflection, when talking to my great great great grandnephews, they will tell the story about how Aunt Lisa’s $50 bucks came right on time, just when they needed it; and they’ll muse about how much I will never know how that simple message contained within a handwritten note on those cards blessed them right when they needed a kind, heart-felt word of encouragement. That’s my fantasy and I’m sticking to it! 🙂