I want to start by saying I love the New York Times, despite what the recent politicians are saying about it. Reading this article reminds me of the opeining line I read in Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl":
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...
Excessive text messaging and e-mailing is basically turning my generation in to mad, language chopping typist. O.K. I'm guilty of this sometimes, but being unable to separate professional or academic work from social rants could create a state of panic. Don't believe me? There was a section in the article that really stood out to me.
“I think in the future, capitalization will disappear,” said Professor Sterling, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, he said, when his teenage son asked what the presence of the capital letter added to what the period at the end of the sentence signified, he had no answer.
What! A professor's son did not know why we capitalize the first letter of the sentence. It is a point of simplicity and comfort that we are quickly becoming used to. We are now relying on our technology to think for us in some respects.
I could remember back in middle school how I could not wait to get to a computer to sent an e-mail (I did not have a personal computer until I graduated high school), making sure I did not make a mistake. But one think I noticed was that it took too long if I wrote correctly. So I started to write in the infamous short hand that the article addresses.
The moral of this story...
Teens are lazy. Once they jump into higher education or professional roles, one of two things will happen: A rude awakening or a wake.
There was also an interesting fact at the end of the article. A lot of the teens who write outside of school are black and/or female. Different life experiences could result in different writing experiences, in the print and digital world. One thing good that could come out of the text message era is that everyone now has information at the tip of their fingers, but how it is used is a different story.