Over at Brighthand, I’ve been involved in a great conversation about the influence of the Internet on writing, journalism, etc. and whether this influence is a bad thing. I recently penned a reply that I think I want to sit and think on a bit more:
Control and advancement precludes languages as a communication medium.
Anytime we can make the distinction that the evolution of language (for whatever reason) has a “bad” influence on areas that were once considered to be the leading tennants of voice (moral or otherwise), we are saying that the control that we once had over language is no longer ours and we’re having a hard time dealing with that. Its much the same kind of perspective that was *very* prevelant here when smartphones were coming onto the scene and there were very notable members of this community saying that the entrance of wireless communications (“tied to a service” was the complete thought) was bad for mobile technology and the advancement of personal computing. We see where that control argument went (tens of millions of PDAs versus 4 billion cellular enabled computers).
The question of the post, is the net a bad influence on journalism, is postured from the standpoint that an industry which mediates content on the level of a 6th grader is suitable to have its interests and teaching methods protected as more people gain the ability to use phonetics (text, video, or audio) as a means to declare their position to a wider audience in a cost efficient manner.
What exactly is good journalism if the standards are so low, and the solution that it speaks is to continually go to school? Eventually, you either become an agent of the culture or learn what those agents didn’t -which in the case of the Internet, is to how to communicate while demonstrating a control of context and language that isn’t part of the methodologies of journalism.
Does that make the influence of the internet a bad one, or one of unintended consequences? If unintended, what did we miss in teaching language skills that the entrance of the Internet has fostered? If those things are bad (for all), then we’ve got an argument that the Internet is bad. If not, then maybe its the writing/journalism that didn’t mature with the times.
Feel free to jump on in and offer your thoughts on the entire discussion, or just my points here. Surely, we’ve got to do more than just mangle words in these contexts right?