Language evolves, customs evolve

I admit, I’m a little bewildered by how many people I know have friends in their comments who use ‘snowflake’ as an insult. I don’t think anyone I’m actually friends with would say that in person, but I guess I’m just one thin bubble away from people who would. Weird.

This brought to you by various of my friends posting things recently about not understanding millennial / zoomer / alpha texting etiquette, and many of their friends being utterly dismissive in the comments.

Heck, I have to have my kids explain some of it to me, and that’s fine — I don’t text a lot of teen / 20-somethings aside from them. The ones I do text generally seem to understand that a 50-something or above probably doesn’t mean what their friends would mean if we:

• use a period while texting
• leave read-messages on
• use a thumbs-up

If no one is actually giving you a hard time about your usage, and you’re just angry at the very idea that someone somewhere might find your texting conventions rude (maybe because it feels like the world is moving on without you and it’s hard to keep up?)…

…I admit, I’m kind of tempted to say you’re the one that needs to grow up, not the kids.

Language evolves, customs evolve. It’s nice that they’re figuring out new ways to be polite.

I remember when a younger friend explained to me why the pizza delivery person didn’t ring the doorbell — their generation sees unexpected doorbells as rude. What if there’s a baby sleeping, and you wake it up? What if you set off a sensitive dog that’s going to bark for half an hour?

If everyone has a phone basically attached to them, as their generation does, and everyone coming to your door will have your number to text, then why wouldn’t you text instead? So much less intrusive than a doorbell, and in a world where they’re getting barraged by communication methods on all fronts all the time, it makes sense that ‘not being intrusive’ has taken on a much higher value than it had in my 20s.

(I’d personally still like the pizza people to ring the doorbell, but at least I get it now. I tell them I’d prefer the doorbell now in my food delivery orders (please ring bell and leave food), and sometimes, they actually do. 🙂 )


Side note: Some of my students recently listened to the podcast where Ben and I discuss how Strange Horizons started, and how people didn’t take internet publishing seriously, and we had to really fight for SFWA, etc. accreditation.

They were so bewildered, and sort of indignant on my behalf, which was adorable. As they said, they’ve never known a world without the internet, and in fact, all the serious publications they read, they read online.

(Photo of my kids by the pool in Miami yesterday, Flamingo Park. Possibly right around when they were explaining the ‘read messages’ thing to me. This photo is hilarious to all three of us, because as Anand says, “I look like a troll!” Kavi is very amused by her posing in the background in contrast.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *