Can U Read & Rite?
Hence my private definition of the word "blog"-a cross between a blob and a bog.
Instant Messaging and Texting
My late aunt Gertie could operate the QWERTY keyboard of an old manual typewriter with absolute accuracy as fast as a person could talk. Had she lived into the Internet age, her instant messages and e-mails would have read like fine prose.
Few touch typists or hunt-n-peckers can approach Gertie's speed, so a vast new lexicon of shorthand acronyms has come into being where sequences of letters represent phrases (e.g., AAA-any advice appreciated; WYMM-will you marry me?).
These word substitutes are great time-savers for conversing via thumb-writing on a cell phone or BlackBerry keypad. But, when you add emoticons to the mix-a combination of keyboard characters that represent facial expressions, such as 🙂 for smiley face or 😉 for wink-to the uninitiated it's all outrageous gibberish.
What triggered this column was Sarah E. Needleman's hugely important story in The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2008. The lead:
Thx for the IView! I Wud Luv to Work 4 U!! 😉
After interviewing a college student in June, Tory Johnson thought she had found the qualified and enthusiastic intern she craved for her small recruiting firm. Then she received the candidate's thank-you note, laced with words like "hiya" and "thanx," along with three exclamation points and a smiley-face emoticon. "That e-mail just ruined it for me," says Ms. Johnson, president of New York-based Women For Hire Inc. "This looks like a text message."
(Actually, I substituted "Luv" for a heart picture in the headline; I don't know how to make a heart, Luddite that I am.)
My point is this: The Internet is essentially a reading-based medium, with the added benefits of video clips and interactive features. For example, the basic landing screen is called a "splash page" or a "homepage." Pages are in books; books are for reading.