When we post something online we deem insightful, amusing and share-worthy, via Social Media or other means, we do it quickly. We may scan for grammatical errors, re-reading it once or twice, but never in depth, often posting on a whim a feeling or thought we encounter suddenly.
When Writers produce newspaper articles (actual, not electronic – yes people still enjoy holding a real, tangible newspaper), novels, poems, editorials, essays even, we tear up and rewrite, tweak, unravel and edit our little souls out to get to ‘The One’, the piece de resistance, ready at long last to be shared and adored, to be read with love and imagination transporting its reader through one’s lovingly nurtured text.
Too much of what is ‘out there’ is rubbish – Publishing Houses have the power to segregate the fluff from that worthy of sharing, however thanks to the internet we are privy to whatever the next Tom, Dick or Harry deems worthy of publishing online – even this! There are no boundaries and therefore, no editors. Take Fifty Shades of Grey for example, an OK premise with a universal appeal, but it was so poorly written I do not personally know anyone of intelligence who actually managed to finish the book without becoming frustrated and chucking the piece of crap out. Online tabloids are the same, they go for quantity over quality – it would take five minutes to ensure that the subjects name was spelt correctly throughout the article, yet I have never read a completely accurate or grammatically correct article on the Daily Mail website. When did it become okay to not do our best? To not write immaculately? Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable putting my name to a poorly written piece, not because of the public attention and millions of readers, it just would not sit right with me.
I can honestly admit that I struggle to actually absorb most of what I read on the internet. Whilst I need to learn to be more comfortable with reading from a computer screen, nothing could ever beat the feeling of sitting down and reading a book from start to finish, or accessing a library to research information for study – it just feels more real, respectable even. Proper. But more and more my generation disregards the written word and opts for the easy way out – look it up online and gain the absolute minimal knowledge required to be able to satisfy our thirst for the particular snippet of information. This is the generation I so wish I wasn’t a part of – ‘The Now Generation’: I want to be successful, now. I want to be rich, now. I want the answer to my question, now. “Google it!” we say to one another at a loss for the answer to a passing question. “How can she say she doesn’t know how to do it? Why doesn’t she just Google it?” – I’ve overheard several colleagues mutter this to one another at a loss as to a co-worker’s lack of resourcefulness. What is the point in studying anything properly when we have all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips? We are breeding a generation of Jack’s of all trades, and master’s of none.
Even more heart-wrenching still, some children have never written a letter, or had the joy of receiving one through the post, wondering what kind words have been specifically penned and addressed to them as they tear open the envelope. Facetime, Skype, Email and text messaging has completely obliterated the need to write, to wait for a response – we can have it now.
It’s interesting. I feel, and have observed that the most intelligent of us with the most viable things to say are usually the ones who shy away from Social Media. The Thinkers, the Watchers, and sadly, the Writers. I personally care too much about what I share with the world that I end up avoiding it altogether. Now is the time to evolve. The world is moving quickly and to keep up we must move too, such as has always been the case. But we must never, never ever stop writing. Our most beautiful words are lost to the internet and written so frequently they have lost all personal meaning and value. The published word is written to endure, and if anything, it’s just nice to receive a letter, to read a book cover to cover, to emerge ourselves into a subject fully, not to just dip our toes in the pool of virtual knowledge briefly.
Think before you post. Are you justified in sharing it with the world? Or are you just looking for some momentary attention or reassurance? Whatever the case, think, if you were reading your words written by someone else, would you deem it worthy?