Are Those Church Bells Or A Technology-Driven Death Knell?

There may be a point in this post, but chances are it will probably just be a literary exercise akin to passing gas: relieving built-up pressure, emitting a slight smell depending upon what I just consumed, followed by a momentary sense of embarrassment.

I have seen a lot of apocalyptic questions in the social media streams related to the validity and longevity of blogs and books. With Borders announcing the closing of the rest of their stores and the rise of e-book readers and the associated influx of e-books being released, people are tolling the bells letting everyone know that print is dead. However, is print dead or is it merely the “not dead yet” guy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—not quite dead, but bludgeoned to death for the sake of convenience and modernity? Are we locked in a societal war upon books and the knowledge therein contained? Or are we simply striving to find and build new ways to expressively communicate the body of knowledge and wisdom that we collect over the span of a lifetime?

We live in a glut of information that effectively feeds the fire of attention deficits and procrastination. In our rush to learn everything that we can in a given moment, we communicate quicker, briefer, seeking to be more and more succinct. In the push for an ability to consume more “stuff” faster and faster, books gave way to articles. The Internet enabled anyone to self-publish blogs, and the addiction to growing our numbers of readers pushed many of us to sacrifice well-structured content for the sake of well-formatted “search engine-ese,” allowing more people to find, like and share our words. Blogs became more about salacious headlines and keywords, eventually pruning the headline down to a shortened link that summed up the entire post in a URL. Whether our content is read and analyzed no longer matters in today’s world of digital information. The modern-day Patrick Henry espouses, “Give me retweet, or give me death.”

With a disregard for in-depth analysis and information, blogs have been declared dead. But the question of whether blogs are dead or not, is a non-issue because it is not about whether people are reading your blog, but why they aren’t reading your blog. The question should really be, “are people leaving your blog because you have a poor understanding and grasp of grammar, literacy, and the expression of meaningful thoughts and ideas?”

Most of the blogs that I read, even my own at times, are wrought with typos, grammatical errors, malformed and unexpanded theses, and distaste for language. We try to simplify our words, without realizing that there is power in the words that we use: to build people up, tear down faulty ideology and rhetoric, and give people hope for a literate future. But as long as we rush to get our post done for the day, we sacrifice quality for completion, turning people away by the arrogance of our ignorance.

I’m all for communicating clearly and succinctly, as I daily strive to formulate and express meaningful thoughts and conclusions. I try to keep my posts around 500 words, primarily because anything longer goes beyond my time allotment for writing and proofing what I write. But as long as we sacrifice critical thinking for entertainment and maximum “retweetability”—the art of writing tweets that are less than 100 characters enabling others to retweet with their own comments attached—we run the risk of becoming an illiterate culture, transforming a long-standing tradition of history and knowledge into a post-modern vat of lard and lunacy.

One reply on “Are Those Church Bells Or A Technology-Driven Death Knell?”

I hope that the printed word is not dead.  I love the simple task of reading text from something that is tangible, something you can feel, hold and smell.  Reading that stimulates the senses.  I love going into a library and smelling the smell of the books on the shelves, the quiet and serene atmosphere, all adding to the thrill of picking up a book, opening up the front cover, smelling the print on paper and then delving into the world of fiction or non-fiction.  To get lost in the printed word and let your mind expand into the world of literacy.   Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading things online and on e-books, but something gets lost when doing so.  To me it no longer becomes this “intimate” relationship that you get with reading a printed book.  It seems to become more non-personal and almost “cold”.  So, let’s hope that the printed word doesn’t become obsolete.  If it does, I think we all will lose that personal relationship that we associate with reading and the senses that get burn into our memories.

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