Friday, 12 September 2003

Are virtual words virtually meaningless?

Leighton posted about the assumption that 'virtual words' are in some subtle way different from other communications.

In my opinion the 'virtual' tag is escapism. People (well some, anyway) want a fantasy world, just like they see in films, where they can throw off all restraint. Do what ever they like; the net appears to offer that. Remember how everyone was saying about 3 or 4 years ago how the net couldn't be regulated? Suddenly it turns out that 'meatspace' laws apply where ever you happen to be sat typing.

There's another aspect too. People like to assume that whatever is 'said' in 'cyberspace' isn't real. We were all told we can be 'whoever we want'. As he pointed out, it's almost all text, and text is writing. And writing is just words in visual form. The medium actually makes zip difference. They are still the words that have been 'spoken', albeit through a keyboard.

The bible makes a big deal of words. Words aren't simply noises: they carry both meaning and power. David prayed that God "won't let my words fall to the ground". There's even a suggestion that we may be judged by every word that we've spoken. People are expressing themselves this way as never before. Wonder where all their words are going?

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