Gone are the days when the people would use pens to put their thoughts to paper. They would write long essays and poetry to give vent to their creative thoughts. Pens and books were valued and considered to be precious belongings. Friends and near and dear ones would exchange long letters containing a range of heartfelt emotions. Poetry and literature played a very important role in the lives of educated people. In an essence, those days were the days of penmanship. But all that changed with the advent of computers, internet and smartphones through which people started texting.
People are no longer putting their pens to paper. Instead, they started texting and their texting doesn’t comply either with standard spelling or usage. Now we are passing through the era of not only paperless and penless offices but also paperless penless homes. The arrival of the digital revolution has turned many people into internet addicts.
This does not mean people are not reading. They are certainly reading but they no longer have the patience to read long texts. Their reading had become shallow and incomplete. Because search engines provide them with too many sources of information and they don’t have enough time to explore all of them. These are the days of snippets and soundbites. When we watch television, all we get is a bunch of soundbites. And while we browse the internet we get to see snippets. This ultra-brevity doesn’t allow us to get a clear and precise picture of the actual happenings. So the news we get through various websites and television channels is not only ambiguous but untrustworthy.
During my school days, our teachers taught us to write an introduction first and conclusion last while writing an essay. However, these days, web content writers are using inverted pyramid method, following which they are incorporating their most important points in the first hundred words. Because the netizens don’t have the patience to read beyond that. Sometimes I feel that had Hamlet been around he would have texted “2 B r nt 2 B, tht is d ?”.
This article got published in THE HINDU Open Page.