Sunday, February 13, 2011

Authenic Audiences

Long ago, 
Before cellphones
Before instant sharing,
Before Mark Zuckerberg borrowed an idea,
Before phones Twittered,
Before Ipads shared experiences.

People penned thoughts and ideas
On crisp personally chosen stationery,
In perfectly formed handwriting,
With pens evoking memories of graduations, 
Through the mail thoughts 
To eager recipients who savored each word.

People penned thoughts and ideas
On the pages of journals
In portfolios of thougths and dreams
To remember happy, sad, and confusing moments
Shared with secret audiences.

People savored words
Of suitors and friends
In efforts to connect
To those outside our sphere
Words are tangible evidence of life.

In the 21st Century,
In an era of great connectedness
In a time  when we might not have as long to think
about our words
before sharing

People are sharing
Because they can
Because words are powerful
Because authentic audiences
Connect us to those in and out of our working - living sphere

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

I loved this piece. First, as a teacher of writing, I think it is a wonderful reminder of the importance of authentic audiences. It is so appropriate in the context of our exploration of wikis and blogs, which provide authentic audiences for students. I really believe that if they are given some freedom to write about their passions, student writers can soar. If the writing is purposeful and meaningful to them, they will likely invest in it FAR more than they ever would with a piece with which they are disconnected.
From a personal perspective, I feel dismayed by the message of this piece. Although I am grateful for all the wonderful technologies we have today, I think some of them (i.e. e-mail) have taken away from our motivation to invest in our writing. I remember from when I was younger that the experience of exchanging letters via snail mail was special. I remember caring so much about what I wrote because I knew the recipient would likely hold on to my letter. It was expressive and personal and artistic. Today, although I suppose e-mail can be used in this way, it most often isn't. Because we CAN get our thoughts down and hit send quickly, we usually do. But this is not always the best way to communicate with others. Sometimes, the best, most heartfelt communication takes place when you've had the opportunity to "sleep on it." Unfortunately, I rarely hear of anybody "sleeping on an e-mail" before sending it, the way I know I always did before sending letters. Just a thought.