Startup: The Devolution of Communication

We’ve lamented here already about how text messaging and twitter are killing language – but computers in general are killing writing. This used to be an art and a skill. My sister took a calligraphy class in college. They used to just call that writing. Now schools are dropping cursive from the curriculum and a whole generation is emerging that can barely hold a pen without stabbing their own eyes out.

Fun fact: you know the old cliché about how doctors have notoriously bad writing? It’s not a cliché, it’s on purpose to make it hard for non-medical types to make up fake prescriptions. I thought it was just an urban legend until a friend of mine went to school to become a pharmacist and had to take classes specifically on the secret talent of reading doctors’ writing.

  • zaddikim

    Since I essentially work with kids, I see this all the time. Not just the use of a pen/pencil, but penmanship- dear deity, the penmanship is horrid!

  • TX_Stig

    I can still remember how my dad used to make me practice my handwriting. I had to transcribe pages from books. Not dense novels, but just kids books. It was great practice. And today, I am still able to communicate with written language. And not just written by proxy of pressing buttons.

  • PowerTryp

    I had lessons on writing as a kid and unfortunately my writing still looks like a steaming pile of crap. Unfortunately when it comes to writing I lack the ability to develop those fine motor skills. It really sucks cause I envy those with nice writing constantly and nomatter how much I work on it, it turns out near unreadable.

  • With all the latest devices using touchscreens how much longer before typing with all ten fingers becomes a lost art too. Typing was probably the most useful course I took in high school.

    As for the prescriptions, most of them are the med name and then a bunch of abbreviations of Latin words for the directions. I worked at a pharmacy for 4 years in high school I used to know a few of them. The last time I went to the doctor they just printed the prescription out from a computer, it was written in plain English.

  • OA5599

    My handwr5it ing skils aRe weak , but my tYPing ssucks. ttoo,

    • zaddikim

      I c4n par53 wh@t you ar3 7yp1ng ju57 f1n3. I m4inly have Is$u35 w1th @u70c0rRec7.

  • Number_Six

    I taught university classes in Asia for years and was always impressed with the beautifully legible English handwriting my students produced. I think the years of calligraphy required to learn to write Chinese characters instilled in them the artistic side of writing. Their spelling and grammar on the other hand…were actually no worse than that produced by the average freshman at uni in North America…And by that I mean horrific.