Misunderstanding the Digital World

My memory of my birth year may not be so good….

But stamp prices were 3 Cents…. I have an envelope from 9/30/55 to prove it… (see picture)…

I found this envelope inside of another storage device I bought at a resale shop… Instead of tossing it, as is NOT my custom, I saved it…

Envelope and FIsh HooksBack in the day the delivery of mail was an exciting event. I remember going to my aunt’s store where the little post office window was and collecting mail for my grandparents. It seemed everyone KNEW when the delivery would be made, and how much time it took to sort the mail. That grocery/feed/bait/gas/post office general store was the only local gathering place. It was exciting!

Or so my young mind remembers.

It was especially exciting when something came for you. It was often personal, pages of deciphering (grandmother’s writing) and sharing, and probably something to keep for future reference. Which I did for a long time but can no longer find these treasures.

Today, the social media event has changed all that. Now it seems like everyone wants a headline, and not the details or the back story. Or they want their post to be juicy news, or a re-post of someone else’s news – almost like they have nothing original to say.

I have jumped into the social scene with both feet – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – and what I have determined is that no one wants to read anything of depth. They are looking for the short messages that they can click “Like” or give a simple reply. I have several friends on Instagram that always post thoughtful messages about what they are posting and it always grabs me and takes me down a rabbit trail of thinking.

What really seems to be the case is that we are losing our depth of information to a shallow pool of communication.

In fact, my feet are so completely entrenched in the digital world I seldom ever buy books in print – instead I love digital copies where I can make my marks and notations and not ruin the pristine printed page!

Recently, I started working on my reading habits. So much of my in-depth reading the past few years has been focused on school books. I buy, rent, or check out – and read quickly, looking for highlights necessary to write a paper or respond to questions on a quiz. Needing to read hundreds of pages per week has kept me looking for the answers, instead of delving into the body of work for insights.

Too often I read with the ending in sight – how quickly can I finish this book!

Blogging has helped me in this area. I do not want to write just about “me”. Rather, I want to write about something that has prompted a thought, do a little bit of research and then a final production that I agonize over and again wondering if everything is grammatically correct. I always find areas of improvement. My writing is often a fit of producing, back tracing, re-thinking, re-writing, and then wondering if I made any sense… All within the space of a few minutes!

Here’s my analysis. Social media has produced a flock of folks interested in one-liners. There are fewer people interested in investing their time into a well thought out posting, and only look for that quick satisfaction of a like/unlike vote.

Just a smidgen of my collection

Just a smidgen of my collection

Part of this analysis has come to light as I research authors that are no longer among us, for the most part. I find their words deeply thoughtful and not meant to be read quickly. It is almost like the time spent to produce a volume of work was so tedious that they wanted everything to be just right!

In fact, I know someone who can spend an hour reading three pages, while I inhale entire chapters and sections. They pause through the reading and think about the words and the message.

Imagine the day before computers, and maybe even a typewriter – those slow days of scratching out letters on a piece of paper, marking through, re-writing, and when you are completely finished with the first version – then you would rewrite it to ensure it’s complete message was presentable.

  • Imagine going through a multitude of edits!
  • Imagine what it took to produce these few books of my library!

So, I backtrack through authors like Rudyard Kipling, Henry James, O. Henry, Mark Twain,  James Fenimore Cooper,  and, yes, Louis L’Amour!  This list is seemingly endless. I look for their references to their own work to get a sense of where they are writing from – what was their purpose?

I picked up a Kindle version of “A River Runs Through It” that contains a prologue by another writer. It gave a great perspective of their interpretation. Then the author, Norman Maclean, writes a few pages about his journey. The combination approach of both introductions makes me want to read all of his works. Too many will only remember there is a popular movie, with popular actors and director – few will want to delve into the written story. That is sad.

If I never buy another book, I have thousands at my finger tips to stroll through and read to my hearts content.

Think about the bible for just a minute. There is not another story of life that has so many varied collectors of information to present in a single volume like the bible. From the very earliest of man’s memories, we can read about where we came from, and how we got to where we are today. Each writer, inspired by God, begins writing for a purpose. It was not an overnight event, it was through generations of time that these collected writings make it to our hands today. True, there are old English versions, and other language versions, and modern versions to attract different readers, but the concept of reading the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek writings would still be something I would love to read today.

Imagine the back story to these few points of various writers mentioned in the bible.

  • Moses penned the sections that become the early history and the foundation of the law, but at the same time he pens a song (Deuteronomy 31:22).
  • King David is mainly known by his writings of songs, but he also wrote a letter regarding the bearer, Uriah, that caused the bearers death – so he could take the man’s wife (II Samuel 11:14).
  • Jezebel faked a letter in King Ahab’s name so that an innocent Naboth could be stoned and the King take his vineyard (I Kings 21:8).
  • Daniel has a dream one night and writes it down, telling the main facts. (Daniel 7:1)
  • Zacharias is struck dumb, unable to speak, until his son was born. He wrote the boy’s name on a tablet, and then regained his voice. (Luke 1:63)
  • At a trial of human against human, Jesus kneels and writes in the sand. (John 8:8)
  • Pilate writes a title for a cross and the chief priests reject it. (John 19:19)

This is a lengthy list, but it sort of proves my point. Many people will read these bullets and accept the fact of my posting – few will open their bibles and read the story for themselves. We are not interested in detail reading assignments!

If a challenge could be presented by this thought today – it would simply be, “Quit being satisfied by shallow postings and read deeply to understand the story of life.”