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Smaller the keyboard, the smaller the thoughts


I am not a fan of texting.

I dislke Twitter.

Typing on on-screen keyboards  I avoid whenever possible.

While I don't think I have overly large fingers, they are not tiny either. (Some would say I am all thumbs.) I like full sized keyboards. Yet as the years have passed, our devices and how we input text have shrunk.

Separate typewriter-sized keyboards attached to desktop computers are less common than smaller integrated laptop keyboards. On-screen tablet keyboards are usually smaller and are a whole different tactile experiences. Portable external tablet keyboards don't do much for me - still small. And smartphones? I need my reading glasses to read a text let alone find the right letters (or emojis) in composing a response.

I am sure I am not the only who has found composing on ever smaller screens increasingly difficult. At least for extended periods of time. Has this led, then, to an overall reduction in the length of our communications and therefor its depth? Have shruken keyboards shrunk the nuance and substance of our thinking?

Books, journal/magazine articles, and newspapers once informed us. Now? Tweets, Facebook memes, and texts. As I have decried before, these forms of communication are like trying to have a converstation using only bumper sticker slogans. (See links below.)

I don't forsee this trend reversing. Text and ideas will continue to get smaller. Name-calling, either-or thinking, over simplification, stereotying will all become even more influential. As David Carr observed:

Calm, focused, undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts – the faster, the better. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, 2011

Or maybe I am just an old fart worrying about nothing. 

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Reader Comments (2)

I agree with your concerns as I type this on my iPad virtual keyboard. I only disagree with a linear mind, as I am traditionally abstract random for you analytics. The only problem is that we are many times taught to decide about a fork in the road (linear), whereas Yogi Bera tells us to take it (alternative-multidimensional thinking, with humor). The more I study technology the more I am concerned about this generation's ability to carry on without power or shortcut tools. Enough said.

July 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCory Sheldahl

Hi Cory,

You make a great point about linear thinking not being the only (or perhaps best) way to gain insights into problems. Thank you.

I suspect many if not most of us would struggle without a good electrical grid. I read enough history to know I would not have made a good pioneer!


July 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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