BURRISS: Writing clearly remains vital in age of texting

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What do the printing press, telegraph, telephone, television and everything about the Internet have in common?

They are all devices for delivering information.

Let me rephrase that.

All they do is deliver information.

To paraphrase the movie “Short Circuit,” they don’t get mad, they don’t get sad, they just deliver information.

What seems particularly interesting here is  when these innovations were new the information what each of them delivered was, on the whole, considered significant.

They were used to deliver important documents, news and correspondence between diplomats.

And they certainly were not democratic in the sense that everyone could use them.

They were difficult to use, and in many cases, the machines themselves were not accessible except to a select group of technicians and, dare I say, acolytes.

What is also noteworthy is the importance placed on the message itself, not on the delivery system.

Spelling and grammar counted, as did clarity of thought and the logic of one’s arguments.

Now, the Internet seems to be replacing all of these technologies.

Just how much is open to debate, but there is no doubt the Internet has taken over a good deal of the functions of the old technologies.

But what the Internet has not replaced is the importance of clear writing.

Ask yourself, just how important are the illogical, misspelled, incoherent rants we see in most of the blogs infesting the Internet?

Sure, everyone has the opportunity to say what they want, but is that, in and of itself, important?

How much do uninformed, angry outbursts really add to the discussion?

Now, let’s be clear: In no way do I advocate limiting speech on the Internet.

Anyone with something to say should have the opportunity to say what they want.

But let’s not pretend that “opportunity” is the same as “importance.”

It just isn’t so.
Tagged under  Internet, Larry Burriss, Media, Texting, Voices

Members Opinions:
January 08, 2012 at 9:37am
"How much do uninformed, angry outbursts really add to the discussion?"

They are important in that (they)are illustrations of the demise of literacy in this country People who don't get the message simply attack the messenger as best they can.

January 09, 2012 at 11:40am
This is not an unimformed angry protest. Just a simple point to state the obvious. Trains were replaced for the most part by airplanes. Coal-oil lamps were replaced by electric ones. Home telephones are being replaced by cell phones. Rants have been going on back to cave men days and eventually went to microphones, radios and then TV. All of those that were replaced will be replaced again. Funny, never knew that spelling and being incoherent bothered you so much. We put up with your being incoherent. All the articles you write are about what is wrong and putting in the little snippets of information such as saying, "you do not advocate limiting speech on the internet". Huummm, is that really true? Newspapers do not report the news. They report their opinions...mostly liberal. You write opinions about what is wrong with America. All your fixes involve removing personal rights. Your bi-line should be "The Sky is Falling".
January 09, 2012 at 1:10pm
Give me a book, and I'm happy for a day or two...
Give me freedom of the press, and let America breathe on...

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