Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PLN 29

I just read "2txt? Or Nt2txt?" in The New York Times, by Garrison Keillor. This article is about how Keillor travels a lot, and in his traveling he has found that too many young American men suffer from lack of social skills. The Pew Research Center tells us that 75 percent of the 12-to-17 crowd have cellphones, and more than half of them text 50 messages a day on average, but many of them text a hundred or more. Three hundred is not unusual. The study by Pew says, "If you sit in the library after school, text-messaging to people across the room (“Hey, whassup? RUOK? :-) L8R”), you have successfully eliminated 98 percent of the nuance of face-to-face dialogue, the delicious nuance and also the awkward stuff, like when you send a big textual hug (“((H))”) to people you've never actually put your arms around — you have skipped some essential steps in gaining intimacy". Keillor says that "if you don’t pick up the fine art of small talk — those little jokey exchanges with the bus driver, the security guy, the cleaning lady, the newsstand guy, the waiter, the bartender — you’re missing one of the pleasures of life". If you e-mail for difficult communications you are ignoring reality, and this only has a bad outcome. You will learn nothing from it. "Women are wired to form close interpersonal relationships as a step toward romance, intimacy, a stable family life within a tight-knit support system, and men wired to beat other men senseless with clubs." Keillor's concern is that electronics, which seem to open up new worlds, may be shutting us down. "Put down that cellphone, good sir, and look me in the eye and tell me something."

This matters to the world because almost everyone in the world has a cell phone and probably uses it on a daily basis. Many people cannot function without them. This matters to education because in school, sometimes I see kids texting in class and a lot of kids are texting in the hallways. They have become a problem that we aren't' really sure what to do about. This matters to me a lot. The only reason I have a cell phone is so that when I travel I can keep in touch with my parents. When I go to Argentina I will be contacting my parents a lot and I will be attached to my cell phone letting them know what is going on. Since I am part of the group Keillor is talking about I really don't see a "change" in people. My parents tell me constantly that people, teenagers especially, have changed a lot, so I guess there is a problem. They point out examples to me all the time! Too many people have come attached to their cell phones and that is their only way of communicating because when they try to talk to someone face to face, they can not do it.

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