Friday, May 16, 2008

"Youthiness" infects internet writers of all ages.

corporate giant goliath with david and slingshotUpdate: When Carl Icahn got into the fight later, he used all UPPERCASE letters.

Jerry Yang sent out memos today in all lowercase letters, trying to motivate the troops. Apparently this is common for him. I don't doubt it--lots of emails from bosses look like this. Shows how busy and important they are: "I can't be bothered to capitalize my letters. I have people to do that for me!" Jerry should try to be more like Google, where even their bad jokes generate bandwidth.

When is cool not cool?

Of course, lowercase is cool, if you're 13 and texting your friends, or sending MySpace messages. So Jerry is probably also striving to affect an aura of youth and cool.

uncool man with dark glassesApologies to Stephen Colbert, but this looks like another example of misplaced youthiness to me.

A lot of text communication strives for youthiness nowadays. No one wants to be caught using email when they could be texting, Twittering or DM/IM'ing. But modern text systems push us to do more and more with less and less, particularly encouraging TMA (too many acronyms).

The three T's of status on Twitter

Updates on Twitter such as "cleaning toilet naked in meeting with guy k at jfk" are another example. This is a person combining the youthiness of missing words and lowercase letters with the three T's of status on Twitter:

  • I'm so cool I can share embarrassingly personal stuff;

  • Proof of my high status is that I meet with people who have status;

  • I'm so busy with important stuff I'm frequently tweeting from airports.

(Of course I was personally so uncool on Twitter when I started out people contacted me directly to try and educate me.)

Where will it end?

It makes me wonder where this will all end. Using acronyms for our feelings was only the beginning, I fear. Is the way people are texting and tweeting today the way our novels and press releases are going to look in the future? I wouldn't doubt it. Conversations keep "atomizing," with no end in site. Even the thought leaders of our new age can't keep things straight, or as Kevin Rose said earlier today "and by wofo I mean wifi."

crook behind bars in jail line drawingOne day, some corporate bigwig will be tried for insider trading, and get off by saying "I didn't actually have inside information, I misspoke: I meant to say "AFAIC, not AFAICT." And we will realize nothing really changes: ssdd.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 29, 2008

    Really enjoyed reading this-you should be a columnist!!