Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2009   by Auto Service World

Our Evolving Language

There is no question that the ways we communicate these days are more fragmented than they used to be. I’m not sure if this is a good thing.

In the old days there was one way to get word to a loved one or to a business associate: you sent them a letter and then waited for a reply.

The need for faster communication prompted the telegraph’s invention. Eventually wireless, its dots and dashes failed to convey any emotion.

Then Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone. The world became a smaller place as the human voice could now be heard from across the ocean.

Then came the fax machine and with it the death of the myth of the paperless world we had been taught was coming; and the junk fax was born.

Then there was a long respite before the Internet crept into our lives; like many of you, I had already left school by the time it was born.

I remember seeing root directories that someone told me were the future; the little lists of file names looked to be of no importance to me.

It was cool, but of what use could it be? How wrong I was to see the DOS-prompt screens and to wonder why anyone would ever care about them.

Then the e-mail revelations occurred and suddenly I could talk to someone halfway around the world without caring if they were awake or not.

It was great to be able to spend as much time needed to compose a note but then to leave it up to the recipient to respond at their leisure.

Of course it wasn’t long before everyone expected a response to their e-mail right away and it devolved to data exchange. Illiteracy reigns.

So people looked for ways to bring humanity back to communications, but since they had lost the power to leave their room Facebook was born.

To this day, I am still not that comfortable with Facebook and the way people use it to reveal personal details of their lives to the world.

Still, this is what they do and for a businesses, new social networking tools such as Facebook will become another medium to market through.

I’m not sure how many automotive businesses, or any business for that matter, have gained much traction here, but I’m still watching to see.

And now without anything approaching warning has come Twitter, an odd compendium of short phrases that has techno geeks all, well, atwitter.

The thing is, this one I get. In a time when people are less connected to their office but much more connected to their jobs, brevity is in.

Frankly I think it is quite amazing what can be communicated within the tight 140-character limit format of the “tweets” as they are called.

Sure, they are only good for bite-sized pieces of information when taken alone, but when taken as a whole, they can be quite something else.

They can prompt crowds to threaten a coup d’etat in Modova, reveal election irregularities in Iran, or replace real in-person conversation.

And maybe, just maybe, they can form the basis for an entire editorial comment by one Canadian automotive aftermarket editor. Like this one.

— Andrew Ross, Publisher and Editor

In case you haven’t noticed, each paragraph here strictly adheres to the 140-character limit of Twitter. Follow us at JobberNews (no space).



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