Friday, September 01, 2006


Plus Ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose...

The article at the link below might have you LOL [:-)... At least if you have a sense of humor. It seems that twenty-somethings in the workplace communicate through instant text messaging, using their own little language of abbreviations, special characters and emoticons. Horrors! They even make personal use of company email. Horrors ditto! Some even show up at interviews in T-shirts. In fact, the latter might actually be de rigueur in places like Silicon Valley, and I don't see the issue with their doing it, so long as they bathe. Me, I like to dress up, but it's been so long that I've even been allowed to wear a tie at work, much less needed to, that I've grown as ignorant of tying a Windsor knot as I was when I was little and my Dad had to do me up for church.

I am fascinated by languages of all sorts, being both a software designer and a former English major, and I welcome the challenge of parsing out IM script. I see it now and then on Internet message boards and I can make both heads and tails of it, but it frankly strikes me as illiterate - especially when the author of such messages reverts to his or her version of "standard" English, which is usually pretty bad. Anyone with a historical perspective on business communication knows that IM scripting is just the latest incarnation of shorthand, which has been a standby of the stenographer's trade ever since executives wore hats and took three martini lunches. It is no doubt a highly efficient form of communication for those who use it, so long as they don't text-message each other while they're driving.

However, if you are a stodgy old Baby Boomer of a business manager and wish to squelch the instant messaging of your minions, just invoke its resemblance to shorthand and liken them to 1950's secretaries. The very thought of being compared to such pathetic denizens of a bygone sexist era might actually kill the habit for good.

"Text-message generation entering workplace" from

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