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One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Monday, 16 November 2015

Who are you?

This little tweet brought all the horror of recent events into sharp focus for me. 

I follow @MonsieurLeProf on twitter, He teaches English in the suburbs of France and has a wonderful, dry sense of humour. He is a skilled user of web based technologies and has a clear understanding of how to present his digital identity to the world.  Here he makes an off the cuff remark through twitter that illustrates the lack of general awareness of appropriate etiquette when using digital media. The incident? A missive for communicating the observation of a minute's silence out of respect for the victims of the terrorist attacks. It came via pigeon holes, written in the childlike, light-hearted font known as Comic Sans MS. 

The lack of understanding of the nature of this communication is startling. The printing press was introduced to Europe in 1439, nearly 600 years later publishing is in the hands of individuals, every office produces desktop published documents for circulation on a regular basis but much research into fonts and their communicative properties is surely common knowledge? Google it! YouTube it!  Find out here what your choice of font says and watch a personal evaluation of fonts here to help you make your own choices.  

This is computer-mediated communication 101, the most basic of digital communicative skills. Yet our educational institutions fail to recognise the importance of effective digital communication skills as vital in today's world. If we paid more attention to digital interaction we would understand that we only have a hope of addressing the unfortunate abilities of those with effective digital skills combined with murderous intent if we raise awareness of the importance of transversal skills.

These skills are no longer only the domain of the publisher. In the same way as music production, photography and film making have been democratised by the personal computer (and now smart phones and tablets) our digital presence speaks volumes about us. We look very foolish when we neglect these forms of communication and worry only about the face to face.