Sunday, February 14, 2010

Internet Newspeak

In the book 1984 by George Orwell the government, Big Brother, has mandated the number of words be cut down. Government loyalists pride themselves on having a smaller “Newspeak” dictionary each year.

By limiting the number of words to only what is essential to barely communicate. This method is used to limit the feelings and emotions of the population, because you cannot express your feelings if you do not have the words to express yourself.

Now, the Internet is bringing people together from across the world, and in each place everyone has their own way of speaking. Words used in the northern states in America are very different form those used in the southern states. (pop and coke for example, both describe soft drinks)

On the Internet everyone has settled into a common language, because to appear on search engines you need your material to be written in the words people are most likely to use when searching.

Our language is not getting smaller but people are using less meaningful ways of expressing their emotions. You know that friend that has to use all caps and five exclamation points to feel like they have fully expressed their surprise when they found five dollars in their pocket.

The Internet is full of acronyms and emoticons. People today cannot really share their feelings with words so they have to make small faces with the characters on the keyboard.

So what?

It means that like in 1984 we are losing the means to express ourselves and we are losing the definitions of important words. Words are still powerful and we need to understand them to use their power and more importantly not be persuaded to do something we never intended to do.

I’ll bring politics into it for just a second. Now there is a lot of political confusion in America. Both sides are saying fascism and communism belong to the other side of the aisle naturally because both words have negative connotations in America.

But what are the definitions of both words and which side is supporting policies that would lead to one of those outcomes? (Keep in mind that this is only the example I have at had. Others are definitely out there.)

Honestly I would have to use a dictionary to tell you the difference between both ways of governing, because I am like the rest of twitter. I use emoticons and exclamation points to express myself.

The key is to get back to using words instead of pictures. I know this may be hard to do, but it will really help.

Look in the thesaurus for you next tweet.