City Women

 |  May 30, 2011

Being a child of the 80s, my first ever experience with a computer was using a strange device that plugged into the TV. It brought up a black screen with a bat and ball (well a white line and a round spot) and was not even vaguely entertaining. Things only slightly improved on the computer front when we upgraded to a Commodore 64!

This was when Back to the Future was my guide of what was to come. The future according to Marty McFly was all about surfing on flying skateboards, not a computer!

Like most people, I had no concept of how the internet would change my life. Little did I know that despite flying skateboards not taking off (pun intended), 20 years later I’d be living in Thailand keeping in touch with friends and family via the World Wide Web.

My first ever email was sent when I was in my first year at uni. It was not one of my finest moments as I had a bizarre notion that an email was similar to a telegram with short sentences and lots of ‘stops’. (Not that I’d ever sent a telegram or heard of them being used since WWII). Common sense has never been my forte.

Luckily, I soon got to grips with the internet and it wasn’t long before it had become a source of entertainment, education and communication. The introduction of social networking in the last few years has ensured that I now live my life through a series of status updates and Tweets.

Facebook and Twitter have changed the way I keep in touch
with family and friends back in the UK and are the perfect way to waste a couple of hours. BUT… I do have one major gripe they seem to have encouraged a new kind of English, one which actually makes no sense. Is it really that difficult to type an ‘h’ in front of ‘ave’ or to leave a key vowel in a word so that it actually makes sense? I frequently find myself translating words like ‘cud’, ‘wiv’, ‘cumon’ and my personal favourite ‘fink’.

I’ve had messages sent to me which I’ve actually had to study in order to understand them. I know everyone uses the odd bit of internet slang, but when an entire message is one long abbreviation, I can’t help thinking that the culprits are doing it purely to wind me up. Is it really worth the time and effort to constantly replace words which are perfectly fine as they are?

Bad grammar and language aside however, the two sites have allowed me to be an integral part of my friends’ and family’s lives despite the miles. I’ve mourned the death of loved ones, celebrated good news and generally kept on the loop. In fact, so many of our friends and family are Facebooking and Tweeting that it’s easy to forget those who aren’t online.

Some of our very best friends ‘don’t do’ Facebook and so had no idea that I’d given birth (we forgot that it wasn’t just elderly relatives who weren’t socially networking). However, while apologising, I also felt slightly inconvenienced and thought them somewhat inconsiderate for shying away from such sites. Is this really what the future has become – nonsensical English and sharing life changing information through status updates? What would Marty McFly think?