As a writer, being a keen observer is helpful. We learn from what we see…we learn from what we feel, what we experience. As someone who delves into the world of written communication, it is very beneficial to be an observer.
Written communication…humans have a need to do it–from earliest man– telling his stories on cave walls, to the author of Gilgamesh using clay tablets to share one of the earliest works of literature… And let us not leave out the people of recent ancient-history; they found their walls too.
On Daniela Renelt’s blog Idiots and Earthquakes , on the right side, there is a quote taken from the translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
And along with humans’ need to share their news, their opinions, their stories…conveniently, some type of wall has existed. And walls have always been a pretty darned convenient place to do it.
Back in a more recent ancient-history than the days of Gilgamesh–my youthful years I allude to, people communicated on walls.
I could go to the closest department store and head to the ladies’ room to catch up on the news. Who loved whom. Who was going to love someone ’4ever’. Which girls hated which other girls–and even the details of why, were often included; they usually mentioned a boy as the reason.
Sometimes, there was even poetry left behind by persons who, regardless of attempt, succeeded in displaying far more silliness than talent.
Cat fights? You bet. They made their way to walls of infamy. Phone numbers? Phone numbers adorned them–and I might add that those were landline numbers to the only phone in a house, one that a mom or dad might answer.
I was not much on the news, but did check them to make sure that my name or number was not listed among them. I never wanted to be written about on those walls.
But the words failed to live on beyond their authors–unlike the translated words shared on Daniela’s blog. Each time the foulest of the foul news was shared, the department store sent a hapless employee to paint the bathroom a new color.
Having said all that, I am going to share an observation I recently made. I make no claim that it will hold true in your part of the world, and no claim that I am the first to make this observation…but I found it interesting. And I wonder if others are noticing it in their necks of the woods.
Today, we still have a penchant for communicating–and for writing on walls. But I don’t see it on public walls anymore. I even see far less artwork graffiti. (I liked the artwork graffiti by the way-the impromptu art scattered in out of the way–and often unexpected, places).
Have humans found a new wall? I think that might be the case. Cellphone texts (and forwards), Twitter, facebook, and other Social Networking Sites. The communications have moved beyond tangible walls, to those in the untouchable world of near-magic digital display.
Much of the same type news-sharing goes on. The bullying continues. And I have have even witnessed cat-fights between forty-something-year-olds. And I feel much the same way now when I read it as when I did back in more recent ancient-times.
But now…the news may very well outlive the authors who wrote it. Granted, so much “news” is compiled on digital walls, that juicy and embarrassing tidbits will likely never emerge to embarrass a grandchild. But, the possibility exists.
There is something to be said for those digital walls, though. How about the love posts? I do see great poetry, kind posts, and humans lifting other humans out of dark places–all on those walls…
Some things never really change. Humans' need to communicate and a way to make it happen…
You know, I think I am going to my Twitter and facebook walls right now, and I am going to post Dave+Teresa 4ever…
What do you think? Have you noticed a decrease in graffiti in your neck of the woods?
Could what we write on social network sites be replacing it?