Monday, January 23, 2012

Assessing Mediums

Dear Ilana Gershon,

I like how you address the issue of assessing the importance of formality and informality in different mediums, and how it relates to the new concept that breaking up over text message or instant message is easier. On the one side, many people argue that breaking up over a text message is just plain wrong. It's too informal, it's too removed, it's almost too easy. You make a good point when you talk about how we have to weigh the different formalities and in formalities of certain mediums. We have all come to the agreement that a face to face meeting is the most formal medium, and the most appropriate way to end a relationship with someone. But my challenge to you is this: can a medium be both formal and informal at the same time, relying on the situation to interpret what truly becomes formal and informal? And if so, how can we draw a clear line between what is subjective and what is objective?

The medium I'm looking at in particular in this case is emailing. In the beginning of your article, you talk about a man who is getting a divorce through emails, an obvious red flag and "wrong" use of technology to give people a crutch so that they can try to avoid confrontations. However, at the same time, businesses including major public corporations will lay off their employees through nothing more than an email. Just like in Olivier's case, no explanation, no closure, just an email saying "you're fired".

If it's right to do this, then why is it wrong to break up with someone using these mediums? I'm not, in any way shape or form, trying to advocate people breaking up over text message or email. I'm simply challenging the ideas of a possible double standard in today's society that you may have overlooked. If this is the case, what is the explanation for this double standard? Where did it come from? How did it form? Why do we play so heavily into it?

In a world filled with different shades of grey, how do you know when to put your foot down and say "this is wrong"? Because even after assessing the different mediums, I still don't think there is a clear cut answer.

                                                                                               Your Favorite Devil's Advocate,
                                                                                                                        Kevin Lanza

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