Friday, 26 July 2019

The vagaries of modern life.

Modern life seems to me to be full of acronyms, in a way that I am pretty sure it never used to be. Or did I go through my youth in a state of blissful unawareness? That too is possible, lol. I never quite worked out what that one, lol, really stood for, btw. I assume it’s something along the lines of “laugh out loud”, but I may be completely mistaken. That does happen ... occasionally.

Partly it’s a need to communicate at speed but I think some of it may be the result of the early days of text messaging, back when the amount you could put in a text was severely limited. And suddenly text-speak arrived. Abbreviations galore. And inventive spellings. Teachers of English despaired of their pupils using text-speak instead of standard English in their essay writing. The cleverest students, of course, learnt how and when to use both forms of the written language, rather like the offspring who have two accents in their spoken language, one for home use and one for conversing with friends. In their turn, youngsters despaired of their parents trying to be down there with the kids and using text-speak when they sent them messages.

Whatever the origin of the plague of acronyms, they are ever-present and here to stay.

I arrived at this topic having seen a headline I only half understood: - “How online dating made IRL coupling a thing of the past”. I opened the article hoping to find out what IRL stood for. No use at all. So I googled it - IN REAL LIFE!! The gist of the article was that most couples now meet via online dating. They usually say they met “in a bar”, which is where they arranged the first actual meeting. But hey got to know each other online. Marrying your childhood sweetheart (assuming childhood sweethearts still exist), marrying someone you meet at university or in the workplace, someone you get to know in real life, is a thing of the past. (For “marrying”, read also moving in with and living together.)

Such is modern life!

Here’s another bit of modern oddity / odd modernity. “Young people in Britain have almost entirely abandoned television news broadcasts, according to Ofcom, while half of the country now gets its news from social media. While the average person aged 65 and over watches 33 minutes of TV news a day, this falls to just two minutes among people aged 16-24, according the media regulator’s annual news consumption report.”

Before we had the various catch-up services for programmes you missed on television, before Netflix and Amazon Prime came along, most of us used to watch popular programmes live and then leave the set on and watch the 10.00pm news bulletin. Now we mostly watch box sets that we have streamed and we are not tied to programme schedules.

TV news is still the main way that the British public learn about current affairs, but that is partly because older viewers have remained loyal to traditional services. Phil and I are older viewers and we also probably watch more series on Netflix than on live television. So much for loyalty. We do, however, read newspapers which, despite recognised bias in almost all cases, still give more analysis than television news broadcasts.

For many people though, and it seems increasingly for most young people, the main source of news is social media.

Let’s hope they get some balance in there. We certainly need it!

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