Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More than a Minute

Last time, I wrote about what influences there are in what we purchase on how we work, but have we ever thought about how we write, or express our thoughts?

In today’s society of 24-hour television news, 10-second online social quizzes, as well as social networking sites themselves, it’s a wonder how any observer learns of a situation, or a person for that matter, in a manner that is not merely shallow. Even in our emails, in business we have been taught that the proper etiquette is to keep things short and simple.

In the end though, the person who really has the interest has to keep prodding for more information. Why, even recently, I sent an email to a co-worker, and then had a reply telling me about policy of which I already knew. The email tried to explain to me that needed to see and sign the attached documents first. Well, those managers were on the distribution list, so there is the rub. And I find it quite disingenuous when you send something that is within policy guidelines only to have to read a reply to that very same message telling you that what you just sent has to be within policy guidelines.

Uhhh? Well, if what I sent was not within the guidelines, you could just tell me explicitly. Then again, they were within guidelines, so what would we even discuss? But people like their high horses, so let them ride.

But what if there was a different way? What if there was a better way socially, politically, and businesslike? What if thorough writing was first priority leading to encouraging – you do not have to require it – full responses that contain context?

The 24-hour news networks suffer the most. Since their goal is to keep everyone up to date almost every hour, they have to reiterate the same news pieces all day, with barely any addition to the story. And in case you thought that wasn’t bad enough, those stories get old. This situation is essentially what is meant by the phrase, “24-hour news cycle.” So, when these stories get old, they are discarded.

With that in mind, you can imagine how easy it can be for warrant-less wiretapping to lose its flavor for the average news viewer. And when you have an executive branch that can delay comment, action, and investigation, and can on top of that tell you that their executive privileges allow them do circumvent what we know as the law, or tell you that you are letting the terrorists win, I would be surprised for the story to go anywhere.

In fact, usually when news stories on warrant-less wiretapping do go somewhere, it takes a long time to come up with a report. When the report comes along weeks, or even months later, will anyone who is used to 30 second news clips bother to pay attention? Moreover, do they even know the report will be broadcast? What are the Neilson ratings for PBS’ Frontline? How do PBS’ ratings fair against NBC when it airs “To Catch a Predator?”

Some stories, no matter how important, lack the tangibility for people to provide the time out of their busy lives in order to make a difference. It may be because of this that some college students take up the cause. Unfortunately, some students are less educated then others, and you have the possibility of someone yelling obscenities for what seems to be absolutely no reason whatsoever.

So, instead of answering 10 second interviews for online social networking sites, write an essay about a topic important to you. Or, write an essay-autobiography describing what is important to you. If the paradigm were changed on what is required for giving people complete answers, we might actually get to know each other just a little better.
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