Communication

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Many of us are getting ready for the holidays and we are preparing to send out our holiday cards and New Year wishes.  All of the “holiday cheer” has gotten me thinking about our modes of communication and how much they have changed since the second World War.  It used to be that when someone wanted to get in touch with a loved one they would get out a typewriter or a fountain pen and spend a great deal of time and effort perfecting the letter because they did not have the luxury of the backspace key on their personal computers.  A great deal of the personality has been taken out of writing today because of the technology boom that we have been experiencing for the last fifteen to twenty years.

The question that I pose is whether something is lost in the communication that cannot be aided with personal communication?  With cell phones, the internet, video messaging, and so much more, is it possible that people are still able to connect on a deep level without handwriting letters to their loved ones?  What advantages are there to the communication age that we live in for soldiers and their families?

I think that something is lost by not handwriting letters anymore, but a sense of security is given by the instant messaging that we have today.  I know that my sister in law is just happy to hear from her husband regardless of whether it is on facebook or on the telephone.  Being able to know that a family member is okay when they are in professions such as the military is extremely important.  It makes the computer that much more important in our lives when we could potentially hear something from my brother in law in Afghanistan at any minute.  In an age where there is never enough time in a day, this new method is very advantageous.

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4 Responses to “Communication”

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A life without Facebook, AOL, and Email!!!!! I don’t know how I would survive! Our society has become wrapped up in the new forms of communication which unfortunately has meant the decline of other forms. I personally think receiving a letter or a “middle school” note is much more intimate and romantic then any email or Facebook message could ever be. I know many people in the military and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have to wait weeks to hear from them. The new forms of communication have been great for families and friends of military members. However, how will we document this war for the years to come? Of course we have books and video but what about communication between couples? I know that if my boyfriend was overseas I would definitely prefer the instant communication and wouldn’t be concerned about documentation for the future. Maybe one day there will be a book full of racy and maybe too informative Facebook messages and emails.

Rebekka,

I think that your question, “is something lost in communication that cannot be aided with personal communication” is very appropriate. Ever since this was brought up in class I have been switching from one side to the other. I say the current communication through facebook, e-mail, and Skype offers an element of communication that letters don’t. For one this type of communication allows for letters to be sent quicker. At the same time, they keep the soldier updated with pictures and allow for video chat. I think sometimes many of these men and women want nothing more than to see there loved ones at home.

While technology allows for faster communication I also think that a personal element is lost in this. There is something about receiving a hand written letter. The fact that the person took the time to write out the letter by hand has personal feel to it. Typed words are more professional and impersonal while written letters are more personalized.

Therefore, in response to your question I would say yes and no. Change is part of life and in change something is always lost and something is always gained. Therefore, while technology offers faster communication, a sense of personalization is lost.

You’re entirely right in saying that personality is arguably void in letter writing. The handwritten note, or the composition of snail mail are seemingly dead arts. Obviously the preferred mode for keeping lines of communication open is through e-mail, Facebook, instant messaging, and a plethora of other social networking tools — anything that can be done instantaneously. We’re big on the here and now it seems. I will not even try and deny my love/obsession with technology and I am awfully glad I can do things with such ease, but I would certainly still welcome a handwritten letter; however I would not truly know how to receive it, and sadly the idea of responding electronically would be a very tempting idea. I think a different form of connection is created between people when utilizing our newly acquired gadgets and forms of writing, responding, and ultimately communication. I think what is lost through the lack of the handwritten things is gained through the closeness that can be gained through virtual face-to-face conversation, instant messages, and the speed and ease of uploading photos, or composing a blog post. I would welcome the return of snail mail, though, but only of course between my perpetual checking of gmail, Facebook and Twitter – tweet tweet – isn’t that a much more amusing noise than that of what a snail delivering our jotted down thoughts would be?

I agree with your post; while there’s definitely something lost in not handwriting a letter, it’s just better to hear from someone in whatever way. When I’ve actually handwritten letters, usually thank-yous or cards for birthdays or holidays, it ends up in either extreme: either too short, or too long. Writing letters takes a while, and I think that part of the reason they’re important is because someone went through the trouble to write out long lines of text. You think about things when you write a letter, and it’s just a pleasant surprise to get a letter from someone you don’t hear from often. But I wouldn’t give up the digital communication for the world, especially if someone I knew was directly serving in war. Hearing from someone who’s gone off to do something dangerous like that is the important part, not whether they had the time to stop and write a lengthy letter. Emails or phone calls get the message across instantly, and give an instant shot of home to the person on the other end.


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