Mass illiteracy

Are those who espouse the primacy of face to face communication really just hiding the fact that they are illiterate? I mean this in the sense that they are not very comfortable  expressing themselves in writing. Most people don’t really have much experience of putting thoughts down “on paper”. Not many people keep journals, letter writing isn’t what it once was, and business documents are really a very small and undistinguished subset of what is possible with the written word!

Just wondering …

10 thoughts on “Mass illiteracy”

  1. Laterally, I'm yet again visiting our pathological discourse, rereading Andrew Hilts' (@andrewchilts) "Digg.com: An online public sphere?" (PDF). A very fine treatment of how sound methods really don't produce fine ends. E.g.:

    "This form of communal moderation seems to not encourage the engagement with differing opinions on sensitive issues nor the careful deliberation of an issue from all angles."

    see his Selected WritingFor decades I worked on a way of drilling through these sad realities.

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  2. Writing journal or posting a letter? I agree, very few of us do it. However I would also argue the quality of face to face conversations too….do we really listen, speak and converse most of the time? 😦

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  3. @Sylwia – Just so! My first job was radio operator, infantry reserves. I've done all sorts of comms since then, including CBC Radio and NORAD/SAC. I think that provides me with something like a foundation for wondering, "What are we doing when we''re chatting? talking? discussing? arguing?" But discovering Habermas and his "discourse ethics" put me in fast forward mode.So I drilled down through all that (see my "GroundPlane 101") to create a system that anchors the exchange … in effect giving a space for conversation ("promoting the subjective narrative") while providing a systematic method for heh reality testing ("structural analysis using syllogistic logic"? yoiks!) I wish folk cared. I can't say I'm surprised that they don't. HeyHo, so it goes.Bottom line for me: sometimes we folk truly do want information that's precise and accurate. ("Just the facts, ma'am.") But most times? The process is essentially social … projecting persona, finding buddies, supporting pals, dissing folk who are "other" … all the stuff that makes us human and not robots.Face to face? I don't think "attention economy" is exclusive to online activity. All depends what a person really wants, don't it. :-)p.s. from something I was reading earlier:

    "Papacharissi questions the quality of the information being transmitted on the internet: "Access to more information does not necessarily create more informed citizens, or lead to greater political activity" (p. 384). In fact, she shares Lanier's views that "Often, online communication is about venting emotion and expressing what Abramson et al. (1988) refer to as 'hasty opinions', rather than rational and focused discourse" (p. 385)."

    from MSTU4010-Debra's blog

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  4. There is a big issue with textual communications that face-to-face communications do not have: judging tone. The reason we need to use smileys and irritating acronyms such as ROFL is that it is easy to infer a tone that was not intended. This extends to trust – being able to look at someone in the eye and judge body language is helpful in deciding if you think the person is, well, trustworthy or not. This, of course, is the reason e-commerce took so long to take off in the nineties – people simply did not trust online retailers the way the trusted bricks-and-mortar shops.On the other hand, it could just be the state of the education system that is producing illiterates by the million… πŸ˜‰ LOL

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  5. I'm not so sure. People pretend to be what they are not all the time with relative immunity in "real" life. Online is less forgiving.

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  6. @Euan – Is why I designed my system the way I did, to focus primarily (though not exclusively) on the material. My hope is that persona / image / personality politics will not be snuffed out completely, but will in effect be piped into a different channel. "Inside" we talk nuts and bolts. Schmooze is "outside", as though in the lobby.

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  7. If exams were done primarily by interview rather than with blind and anonymous paper tests, there would greater distortion in results due to cultural differences and the face-to-face process would be less objective in assessing value.

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  8. I would not describe myself as illiterate but I have to confess to being uncomfortable expressing myself in writing. I fear being misunderstood due to the interpretation of my inadequate words or have doubts about the importance of what I have to say.Irrational? possibly…but a fears nonetheless.It is actually a tough decision to hit the "Create Post" button now I have written this.Dave

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