Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IMs, etc) (11/04/10)
- TITLE: Cyber Grammar
By Wilma Schlegel
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I thought I was keeping up with technological advancements. My job requires understanding of what I believe is a great deal of technology. (Iâm a technologist after all!) But email, texting, IM ing? I havenât paid much attention to these cyber communications. I figured that texting and IM ing were fads for kids. The present generation will outgrow this and the next generation will do the next new and different thing. I really didnât have any time for it.
However, occasionally I did some emailing.
One afternoon I sat down to answer my daughter, Alyshaâs email. Our relationship had been rocky recently and I believed she saw me as âoldâ and âjudgmentalâ. I wanted Alysha to know that even though Iâm old enough to have grown kids, Iâm still âcoolâ so I decided to streamline my communication by using cute acronyms and not using capital letters. (IMHO), I thought thatâs what you were supposed to do!
What a surprise I got (PDQ) with her answer!
Alysha wrote, âI READ YOUR EMAIL AND I KNOW WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO SAY!â
Good, I thought, thatâs what communicationâs all about, isnât it? And incidentally, I thought she had âCaps Lockâ stuck on. (!)
âAPPARENTLY, YOUâRE TOO BUSY FOR ME!â she continued.
What? I am? Iâm so confused - I didnât say that (AFAIK).
âYouâve always been âThe Grammar Queenââ Alysha accused.
I have? (How long has she thought that? I wondered.) This is a bad thing, right? I always thought it was a gift or a skill, but apparently itâs an affliction, an obsession. I admit I have been known to choke on a grammatical error in a written work to the degree that I canât appreciate the workâs point while that error is jumping up and down in fluorescent colors before my eyes, but she calls me âThe Grammar Queenâ?
Alyshaâs email went on, âI know itâs harder for you to write incorrectly than to use good grammar, so Iâm really hurt by your message.â
Whoa! What have I done? I thought I was using the right âlanguageâ. I thought I was being âcoolâ. (But I was glad she took âCaps Lockâ off so I could concentrate!)
When did I get out of touch? Am I âoldâ and âjudgmentalâ? Have I closed my mind?
I thought about all of this and it was hard, but I finally realized that the problem is more what I didnât do than what I did. I didnât take time or interest in things that are important to my daughter.
I have no idea how to text message. I send email only occasionally and I thought instant messaging and emailing were pretty much the same thing.
I didnât show Alysha that I am âcoolâ, I showed her that Iâm a lot like she accused me of being. Itâs time to change.
Rutherford B. Hayes once said of the telephone, âItâs an amazing invention - but who would ever want to use one?â
Similarly, Thomas J. Watson said, âI think there is a world market for maybe five computersâ.
Cyber communication. A passing fad? I think itâs time for this âGrammar Queenâ to learn some âcyber grammarâ!
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