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one to one communication

My girlfriend used Facebook for a couple of years, but recently returned to sanity. In taking that decision, her concern was that she may miss photos and news of her overseas friends and their new baby. But, of course, there are many ways of getting and receiving news from distant friends. Prime among these, not so long ago, was the letter.

Composing a letter invites pause, for thought, spelling and phrasing. Such pause is a tiny tribute to the recipient and a signal of care by the writer. The letter has meaning beyond it's content.

Now, oddly, in this electronic network age, much of the same could be said about an e-mail, if, that is, we compare it to the blithe semaphore seen on the likes of Facebook, where communication is intended for general consumption, is impersonal, is devalued for being so and carries a subtext implying that the crowd is more significant than you, the individual.

Now, a million words have been written about Facebook, but here's a handful more, just to set things straight. A Facebook page is a roomful of morons gazing at each others' navels. Regularly, someone adds fluff. (Alison likes this).

Twitter may be worse. A tweet is a text message sent to no-one in particular. A modern communication, but what it communicates - what it says - is something that will be studied by future generations. They will find evidence of our half-wit narcissism. Such evidence will be stored in The Cloud. (Pat likes this).

That e-mail allows cut, paste and spell-check does not diminish it. These are tools, not insults. The single recipient e-mail stands as a little reminder, albeit electronic, that one to one communication lifts us above the crowd. And that even this tweeting, buzzing, digital world need not be impersonal.


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