‘It’s been too long since I’ve written here. The way I can tell always starts with an “ache” triggered by a good face to face discussion with someone — one on one with a friend, partner, coaching client, or in a classroom conversation.
We word people are a breed apart, and becoming more so, I fear, in the early 21st Century world of instant media.
Instant media use words too. The big difference I sense is the lack of thought that so often seems to lie behind instant words. This is a headline phenomenon now in cable, network, and web news where “what are facts” is suddenly becoming an obsession.
Thank goodness! I learned long ago in television newsrooms of the 70’s and 80’s that “speed kills”. We worried a lot as we rushed to bring the latest breaking story to the public air waves.
What had happened? Who was in a position to verify it? Eyewitness? Diverging eyewitness views? If there were numbers involved, who was counting them? Did we trust the source from experience? And, expert commentary? When wanted, who were our sources going to be? Why did we value their thoughts?
These were the questions we asked ourselves, and each other, as professionals.
It feels today like a lot of people — especially those who think of themselves as journalists — are wondering how the pursuit of truth has become so lost in our social obsession with speed in digital, electronic but impersonal connections.
Words do mean something. Sometimes they mean almost everything — second only to behavior. We still are what we do in this world, aren’t we. If so, then why not dial back the digital whirlwind sweeping our lives along?
As the 44th President said in an interview the other day (paraphrase), why not stop arguing online with people we don’t know and go make some face to face connections with people and have conversations. We might learn something, or cultivate a real relationship of value.
We might even write something about it later, like a hand written thank you note. Just sayin’.