Youngster Free Zone?

I came across an article from the San Francisco Chronicle saying that young people are turning away from blogging.

Seems the little rugrats, I mean the fine  youth of America, prefer quicker media nowadays, like Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Actually, they like texting most of all, according to the report.

Of course, I’m now going to go into Old Fogey mode.  I’m not sure I like this trend away from reading.

Don’t get me wrong, media like Twitter, text messaging and Facebook are great for communicating everything from tonight’s party plans and the current wherabouts of Lady Gaga to important, breaking news on weighty things  like anti-government protests in Iran and the Haitian earthquake. I use Facebook and Twitter all the time.

Here’s my problem, and maybe it’s just a conspiracy theory. Super brief messages, like you’d get on a text message or a Tweet, don’t convey nuances. And sometimes you need that.

Idealogues, and there are a lot of them these days, trade in slogans. So they communicate their message in brief messages. Obama loves terrorists. Gay people are scum. Liberals hate America. God hates fags. That’s the kind of stuff you get from the most rabid of the wackos out there.

If you want to counteract all this, it’s hard to say convincingly in 140 characters or less how Obama deals with terrorists, that gays are an incredibly varied group, many of whom are not scum, there is no evidence they are hated by God, and many liberals want to move America forward, just as many conservatives do.

See?  That last paragraph would have never fit into a text message or a Tweet.

So if the entire media audience just reads the slogans and doesn’t read further to dig down to what’s behind them, that seems dangerous to me. Will too many people believe all these foul slogans the extreme right, and to a lesser extent, the extreme left are spitting out?

Yeah, reading is sometimes like taking bad tasting medicine, but sometimes you just have to. And besides, sometimes the medicine ends up tasting surprisingly good.

One small example. A couple of women are trying to adopt a one year old boy in Florida.  Anti-gay activists, in just a few words and an image, pretty much demonized the couple. It took a whole newspaper column, albeit a very well written one, to blow the activists’ distorted message out of the water.

You can’t believe everything you read. That’s especially true if  there are not enough words in what you read to draw an accurate conclusion.

One Response to “Youngster Free Zone?”

  1. kim Says:

    Tweets & text messages are relevant for busy people who have to pick up their kids at the bus-stop or while while the person at the kiosk is punching in a novel with their card.

    Maybe web developers should come out with a creative writing and poetry community. Then people could write a haiku while waiting in a grocery line.

    Billy collins was on NPR this morning talking about Richard Brautigan’s poetry so I was flipping thru some quotes by Brautigan. I liked this one and especially the 3rd and 4th bullet:

    “Karma Repair Kit Items 1-4.

    1.Get enough food to eat,
    and eat it.

    2.Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
    and sleep there.

    3.Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
    until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
    and listen to it.

    — Richard Brautigan

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