Thursday, 2 April 2015

It's a text, text, text, text world

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

leaf storm

My garden was communicating with me yesterday. In a wordless way he was telling me to clear away the leaves that fell after our Winter storm. Luckily Mr. Swiss saw the leaves as well and volunteered to collect them for the garden garbage. I appeared with my camera and no words were exchanged. He knew by telepathy that I wanted to take a few pictures of the leaves before they disappeared. After being together for 46 years, just a flick of the eye and a small movement is all you need. Mr. Swiss tells me I do not have to shout when I speak, I have a loud voice. On the other hand if I do not shout, he does not pay attention to what I say. Of course he hears me otherwise, but the impact is not the same. 

Online I communicate with a keyboard, be it on a smartphone or computer, Have I missed something?

Of course, there are certain golden oldies that have problems with this new text speak. Famous words of Mr. Swiss “why does she always have to send a text message on the telephone, it would be much easier if she said words, call me and have a conversation” or “he sent an e-mail, but I don’t understand head or tail of it. He always says such strange things”. Yes, such is the confusion in modern life for those of use that might have missed something.

“What’s he talking about LOL?”

“He is just sharing a joke and LOL means laugh out loud.”

“Then why doesn’t he call and we can laugh out loud together.”

You really have to keep up with modern life, because it refuses to slow down to your old ways of talking, saying words and even having a real down to earth discussion/argument.

On the other hand  I can book a flight to London wordless, no speech involved, just follow the instructions supplied by the online website. It might be that your online travel booking-in documents do not arrive as promised, on the evening before the day you fly. This is no problem, just do it all again and with luck they will arrive. The return journey is something else. It all has to be done on the friend’s computer with perhaps a different alignment on the keyboard (I type with a German style keyboard, my friend as an english style keyboard - the “y” and “z” being is alternate positions). No problem, you sweat it out on the day before departure praying that everything will fit and the documents arrive at 9.00 p.m. on the evening before the day of flight departure. So is modern life.

They even have something called “whispernet” on Amazon for uploading my books. Just press the right button on the mouse and my book has travelled to my iPad silently, wordless. The invoice arrives also wordlessly by post once a month from the credit card company.

Today Mr. Swiss collected some of the remains of the Easter shopping. He had a small meeting with a wall in the parking house. The wall decided to move whilst he was parking. I was at home. It seems the damage is digestible. However, the god of auto repairs must have had a few words with the god of tax returns and the daily post brought tidings of good joy from the tax authorities in the shape of a tax refund covering the cost of the small hardly-to-be-seen dent repair with something to spare. We now have our summer tyres on our car and the man at the garage gave Mr. Swiss a chocolate easter bunny (for me?). It will probably be the only one we will have this year.

I was expecting a new enterprising daily prompt today, after the practice run yesterday, but it seems the grid again spoke a silent word of authority and we got the old stuff, so I have written something completely new and impressive. I was actually expecting a full apology from the daily prompt gods, but the word “apology” is not included in their online text, text, text, text.


  1. I rarely have a problem in conveying my meaning when communicating online. Just a matter of choosing the right words and using them in the correct order. Not 100% perfect, but good enough for most communications.

  2. I'm with your husband on the texting. I often start an ongoing text conversation with my kids and resort to phoning them because I feel it's a quicker and easier way of conveying the message. My garden is also calling but I'm turning a deaf ear 😉

    1. I don't mind texting, it only gets complicated when my Swiss German family and friends write their text in Swiss German shortened style, then it can get complicated.