Standards Change with the Times
Communication is one of the many vital facets that makes up contemporary society and human relations today. Often, our comprehension of literacy and the journey we take to reach our understanding of the written language is a reflection of many things: our ability to learn, the desire to improve, and the expansion of readily available knowledge. People’s experiences with reading in various mediums often shape them as people; this change is evident from the various first experience with any written or legible material. However, often, people’s first experiences with such material differ as technology continues to grow and expand. People now read and write things in almost completely unique fashions based on where they are and what medium of literacy they are utilizing.
With published, handwritten, or heavily advertised work, I employ a certain set of standards and criteria in order to ensure the work is of a certain quality; this process is seemingly nonexistent for objects written on either social media or found on sites that are perhaps unknown to many. In that instance, I just assume that the information is in all likelihood either incorrect or mistaken in some fashion. However, for published works, I tend to read carefully and absorb all the information, this also applies to reading online works. In contrast, the online works I assume are wrong until proven otherwise. Written and public works have undergone extensive editing and criticism from publishing and should be able to evoke some kind of emotion, positive or negative. This rule applies to things from full-fledged novels to simple articles and reviews. Blog posts, comments on various sites, Tumblr posts, and essentially all social media utilize very few tools to ensure quality writing; the only guaranteed equipment people have for on par level writing is auto-correct and grammar correcting options on the computer, even then that doesn’t insure any form of decent writing. On the other hand, published and other forms of written works not only have the staple tools of computer run correction, but they also have a set of people who specialize in the editing of papers, as well as improvement.
This means of critiquing has come about in a manner most would refer to as “trial by fire.” In order to further extrapolate this metaphor, I will explain as to how my own manner of criticism came in to exist. My first introduction to the computer was in in middle school where I would utilize word documents and the internet for various projects; however, it wasn’t until high school when I first began to make use of social media that I began to employ this hypercritical reading. My sophomore English teacher introduced us to a website where we go to read various news articles and we would have to post a brief synopsis as well as our own various opinions on the issue. As the school year went on, I would read various posts beside my own as I had become curious as to why I took so long to come up with a coherent post while others seemed to take mere minutes. I was soon shocked to find out that these posts were little blurbs and random bits literally cut and paste from the article with a few opinions thrown in. Soon after I got sucked into the realm known to many simply as “Facebook” where essentially the same phenomenon occurred: people regurgitating news bits with their own opinions intertwined. Although, on occasion, there were posts that struck me by surprise by having some informative purpose or that demanded a higher level of understanding, most posts were simply things such as “Like if you’re tall” and “The leading cause of divorce is marriage.” Ever since reading such nonsensical writings, I decided that social media is no place to find worthwhile writing. Thus, the more forms of media and social media I was introduced to on the internet, my standards began to change along with them.
My criticism of works also depends on how easily someone has access to the materials. For example, I take published works very seriously to the extent that, having your work published in and of itself makes it noteworthy. Furthermore, if the written material is something in the form of social media or a simple note, I have no reason to expect Dickens’ quality writing. Nearly every human being as access to the internet and social media; thus, the expectations for any kind of literary posting cannot be set too high for the simple fact that it doesn’t exclude anyone from writing or have any kind of set expectation for writing.
Although one would assume that writing would improve given new technology and a larger medium for people to share their writing, it would appear works on the have seen a decline in quality. Even with means to correct things like grammar mistakes and spelling errors, people seem to find ways to not only misspell, but many continue to create new slang and terminology for things that already exist. For example, terms such as “swag” or “selfie” weren’t even actual words or had very different denotations until the past decade. The simple fact that people can’t find adequate words within their own vocabulary for things such as this only further shows why many online works cannot be taken seriously. Although many authors do publish their blogs or websites online, the simple fact is that any form of decent writing is limited to “media” as opposed to “social media.” News itself, even it be entertainment oriented news, is still responsible for providing quality level information as well as the need to employ a general understanding of the English language.
I say understanding of the English language for many reasons. As it stands, very few others countries are as in tune with their social media as the United States. Although every culture and written language has its own unique slang and colloquial terminology, no one utilizes such tool as much as the United States. When it comes to foreign works, even if they are translations, I almost always presume they are composed at a level higher than what is to be expected. This includes social media. Although one could argue that the quality of writing in the English language has been undermined by its sheer complexity, the simple fact is most people are simply unable to write on that level.
Literature has come to the point where not only must people read certain works differently but also have different expectations and criticisms for different works. Critiques were at one point seemingly universal for any kind of written work with very few exceptions. The standards have been lowered.