The art of writing can be many things. It can be used to lift up, inspire and provoke action for the reader. It can also be a source of controversy and deep discussion. In the past few years with the rise of social media, writing has lost its persuasive power, the engine that drives imagination, creativity and causes one to reflect and ponder their status in life.
Indeed, the only statuses that concern most people now are those they post constantly in a social media page or profile. Not a day passes that the public is exposed to the life of the reader or receive a word of inspiration and hope with a picture of their favorite celebrity attached, as if they are the ones who came up with the quote or affirmation. The common social media post leaves an impression for only a few seconds or in the case of a few wayward individuals who use the service and leave a less than impressionable message, the fervor could last for a day, but then not much more than that. Contrast that to the great works of literature which last for generations. Could Shakespeare survive in today’s fast-paced, digital world where “all the world’s a stage” and “to be or not to be” instantly appear in someone’s timeline only to see it disappear minutes later? Great literature and that includes essays, missives and other forms of written communication leave a persuasive impact. They challenge us, cause us to look within and to witness the beautiful and ugly within ourselves. It has been noted that the rate of retention in printed works are much potent than digital. Although this is a new generation of the digital world, it is proven that the printed word is more powerful than words on a screen, even in a forum such as this. That printed book is always nearby, ready to be devoured and absorbed in the human heart.
Technology comes at a tremendous price. While it may enhance our daily lives and become entertaining toys for the masses, it creates a loss to critical thinking based on the number of written pieces over saturating the internet or when a catchphrase is mentioned by a social media user that tickles the ear but isn’t deciphered properly and critically by the mind. Our emotions prompt us to react quickly and suddenly to any words that we deem offensive to our social collective without a moment to mentally digest the impact of said words.
How long shall we as a generation endure without the works of pure, natural persuasion in our literature? Shall we continue with the attention seeking, sensationalist literature that arouses the physical but fails to stimulate the mental or will we as a society turn back to the works that consider our place in this universe knowing there will always be injustice in every corner, under every rock but inspires us to act? Amid the quick and rapidly vanishing digital posts of outrage and dissent, the larger issue is that we as a society are missing out on a crucial part of our existence; the words that shape and mold our thinking and motivates us to move forward.