… in blogs, on webforums, … on facebook or twitterr?
Have you considered that writing is “cognitively unnatural”? (Steven Pinker) “For almost all human existence, nobody wrote anything; even after that, for millennia, only a tiny elite did so. And it remains an odd way to communicate. You can’t see your readers’ facial expressions. They can’t ask for clarification. Often, you don’t know who they are, or how much they know. How to make up for all this?” (O. Burkeman)
Have you considered that maybe what you are doing … is psychology: “a way that one mind can cause ideas to happen in another mind”. (Pinker)
Continuing to cherry-pick from other fields, consider insights from language scholars Mark Turner and Francis-Noël Thomas, on “joint attention”. According to them: “Writing is a modern twist on an ancient, species-wide behaviour: drawing someone else’s attention to something visible. Imagine stopping during a hike to point out a distant church to your hiking companion: look, over there, in the gap between those trees – that patch of yellow stone? Now can you see the spire? ”
Crystallized: “When you write,” Pinker says, “you should pretend that you, the writer, see something in the world that’s interesting, and that you’re directing the attention of your reader to that thing.”
… Is this why most people’s FB posts are almost all pictures, and only a rare few dare present their own text – daring to write whole paragraphs, with few or no images? **
… Is this FB quirk caused by the audience?
… Are pictures/photos the tool of a writer who has not yet learned to create wondrous images of the mind?
… What are we to make of all the misunderstandings over web-forum posts that almost exclusively use text?
Are these too the fault of an audience of individuals who actively choose the inability to read more than a sentence or two versus exercising their minds and attention-spans? … an audience of group-thinkers who automatically revile and complain about “overly long posts” ?
or … is it again, the inability of less-than-mature writers to create enticing, tasty pictures of the mind?
Sources: The Edge 7/6/14 and The Guardian 6/28/14 http://edge.org/
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
Read-on MacDuff . . .