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  • Amy Shannon

Communication. Never a lost art.

In basic terms, communication is a message being sent from a sender to a receiver(s). There are different methods of communication, such as verbal, written, through sign language, or body language. In today's technology, the written communication is just not the same as it used to be, such as writing letters (in long hand, actual pen and paper). This, of course, was before the "World Wide Web" (remember that phrase?) or Internet was just a gleam in Google's eye.

People actually used their telephones (and later cellular phones) to talk to one another, and long distant rates were outrageous. Now, there it seems there is less talking, and even the writing has become lessened as even emails can now be downsized to texts sent on a "smart phone" or something equivalent.

Yes, the technology has changed, and people can get to the point more quickly, but what happened to the process of communication? People actually talked to each other. People actually wrote to each other.

Years ago, well, many years ago, when I was working in an office, in cubicle land, I did research on email ettiquette. I also took a course in cultural diversity, so I could communicate well with those who lived across the globe or with anyone who had a different culture than I was living in.

It seems that somewhere that seems to be lost. I hope that communication is not a lost art. It is important to not only send a message but receive a message, and be clear on what the message is.

As a writer, the written word is part of my life. I love words, and I love to write, it's who I am. Often, I am discouraged by what I read (or try to read) on social media or even in emails. You would think that something written that is right in front of you, would be clear. You can see it, reread it, it's right there. But often written communication is as unclear as verbal communication.

Back to when I was in the cubicle world, many times, email or writing a memo was better than picking up the phone, because we not only had a record of it, but it was also something we referred to as "CYA" (cover your a$$).

I know there are short cuts and writing, and some write like the English language is lost in translation, or going to be lost forever. I'm not just talking about those who can't spell, or don't realize that there is "there, their, and they're" and they are using each one incorrectly. I'm talking about those who don't take the time to express their thoughts clearly. Yes, spelling and grammar can also affect how something is interpreted, and so can how it's relayed. Messages in all caps feel like they are yelling. Now, a message that has one or two words in CAPS, show the emphasis of those words. Messages that have no punctuation breaks make it hard to read, or figure out where one thought ends and another one begins (if it begins at all).

When authors are writing, they are not just writing their story, no matter the genre, the format, or length. Once the book (or whatever item is written), it needs to be published, marketed or whatever. Being able to promote yourself as an author, needs clarification in communication as well. Author's blurb or synopsis on the book jacket, in the book description, needs to be clear but not give the entire story away. Authors that are marketing their books, even on social media, should clearly and concisely write what they are trying to say. Don't use a bunch of "c u l8r" or "HMU" or whatever text shortening messages you may use. I don't know how many times I've had to do a Google search to see what someone has said or indicated by using an acronym only known to the Internet gods and millennials.

Amy Shannon



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