If it’s silent…is it “address”?

Okay, I know everyone has posted something about blogging so far. Is it public address? How did blogging become a huge part of communication? Why are we such an “online” culture? However, I feel like a point hasn’t been brought up yet: if something is not communicated by a speaker to an audience, can we consider that “public address”?

Before the majority of the population was literate, the way that information was communicated from person to person was through public forums and announcements. Not everyone could read and write, so if a figure of authority wanted to convey a message to the masses, they had to speak in front of them. (Think back to those movies where the King and Queen step out on their balconies high above their subjects and issue proclamations or make announcements).

One reading and writing became more universal, and information could be passed from person to person in newsletters and signs posted in town squares or on doors to public places, that is how the majority of announcements were made. It was faster, and the information could reach more people. However, with this “convenience”, we lose the element of presentation. Yes the public is being informed of something new, but can we call that “addressing your public” if no one is presenting that information to you?

In modern times, we live through our e-mail, get our news from CNN.com and nothing really ever happened if it is not documented on Facebook. In each instance, a “public” is being informed of something new: your teacher cancelled class because of the snow, a new element has been discovered in Russian countryside, your friend Hillary hooked up with her ex-boyfriend. But no one actually told you these things…you read them. You were informed, but not addressed.

I think that blogging is not a form of public address, although I do believe it is a forum for informing the public. When we get up in front of the class and give a speech, it is different from turning in a paper. Don’t you want to be more formal when you talk in front of people? Don’t you want to make sure that you have a concise argument when you get up to speak to people? You could completely forget about these two things when you write a paper for a class and hope that your teacher grading the paper gets the gist of the paper and says “oh yeah, there was a thesis in there…I think…B+”

Speaking in front of people is a skill that many forget to practice and refine because in this day and age, there is so much emphasis on written work and getting your information online so that it can reach a greater audience.

But don’t we lose something important when we let people read our work instead of hear it?

~Molly Coyne


1 comment so far

  1. johnsokb on

    According to the dictionary, address means a speech or a written statement, or a manner of speaking to persons. Therefore for a reader to really understand the above post, I feel that the definition of the author has to be clear in order to really respond. If I am not mistaken, it seems as if the author is stating that a public address is something that is not written, but verbally delivered. Before I go on, I guess I would be curious as to know what our professor’s opinion is on this topic to better argue what I am about to say. I guess I would ask whether or not she believes blogging or written information is considered public address. When I read something I can’t say I wasn’t addressed, because when something is written, it is written to a particular audience, therefore if that particular audience is me then I am being addressed. Looking at written work as “informing the public”, is not so much a difference from when an individual gives an informative speech. I think the argument as to be more specific or perhaps the use of different terminology would make the presented argument stronger.

    However, besides my own personal opinion about being addressed I do agree that something is lost when an individual turn in a paper in comparison to giving a speech. For instance, voice variety. Voice variety gives some emotional stigma to listeners. But someone can also give an argument that “voice variety” can be displayed in text as well through the usage of exclamation points or capital letters. Despite this, what can possibly get lost, I truly believe that both mediums of public address should still be called “public address”, but could possibly help by emphasizing the subunits of public address.

    -Katelyn Johnson

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