Thursday, July 3, 2014

The disappearance of "you're welcome."

Even very small children are taught to say please. A little later, we teach them to say thank you, and eventually, you're welcome. 

But I notice lately that the adult media world has quit using the latter. 

A news caster interviews some expert. At the end of the dialogue, the correspondent says "Thank you, Ms. Expert."

And Ms. Expert responds, "Thank you."

Wasn't she supposed to say, "you're welcome?"  I mean, she's just shared her expertise with the reporter, and the network is grateful. Her "Thank you" indicates that they've done her a favor. She appreciates the platform? a boost to self-esteem? 

Eventually the traditional call-response will become "thank you" “thank you".  "You're welcome" will drop out of usage, as the use of sir and ma'am have nearly disappeared. 

I see a parallel to our shrinking written communication. I haven't scripted a letter in years. I prefer email. Thank you notes, birthday cards and post cards are about the only time I set pen to paper. 

However, as radical as it seemed in 1995, I understand that most millenials think it's outdated, too slow, and opt for text messages instead. 

Which shrank written communication. Texting spawned a condensed lexicon of abbreviations and symbols. The jargon hampers vocabulary and depth of meaning. As an example, imagine how you'd feel if a relationship ended with a brusk "ILUAAF" (I love you as a friend.)

18-24 year olds text an average of 67 times a day. I imagine they get their point across, but without nuance, like a dinner without seasoning. 

In my opinion truncated communication stunts our ability to express our emotions and fully-developed thought.  Both are necessary foundations for healthy relationships.
Teachers report that their students prefer to sit together, but text each other instead of chat. Can Generation Z (2000 and up) transition from informal chatting to formal discussion? Is that going to effect their ability to read and write academic English?

I’ve already had to set strict guidelines for electronics with my grandchildren, all under 10. On the other hand, I know that as they get older, I will have to change how I engage them. 

Nonetheless, I'm taking a stand against shallow communication on two fronts: 

1) I will engage my grandchildren in F2F conversation. 

2) I will continue to say YW when someone says TX.

To which the young texter might respond, meh?*

Don't text me your response! 

*meh a sound of indifference, who cares, whatever 

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