Social Language: Healing the Great Divide?

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Social Language:The body of words, systems, terms, symbols, gestures, phrases and tools used to communicate thought, emotion and meaning in the on line world and community.


Yesterday I posted a statement on FaceBook, “Brand is just the gut feeling others have about your business.” A few minutes later my sister who is a few years younger than me clicked thumbs up, she liked my status update A few hours later my 20 year old daughter, Rosie posted her thoughts and albeit she was three states away in her dorm room at Denver University, make no doubt…

I heard her loud and clear.”BRANDING IS STUPID!” her response roared.

Language it’s extremely social these days…


The words and systems a common generation, culture, community or geography uses to communicate thought, feelings. Language gives meaning and understanding to life.

As technology races ahead I find to my great pleasure I’m finally becoming bi-lingual. I’m transitioning from my very narrow and somewhat limiting mono-lingual existence to a new multi-lingual lifestyle.

You see, WORDS really ARE CUlTURE. They create culture. And amidst a world flush with tools to communicate, engage and connect with I find myself an English speaking, social language student. I’m not at all fluent but I am iintrigued by the opportunity that this engaging language offers you and I.

And the best part about being a SOCIAL LANGUAGE student is that this language does not HAVE to divide or exclude others. By it’s very nature, SOCIAL LANGUAGE connects, engages and joins. Social language is an agent of GOOD, a builder of community, collaboration, impervious to the limits and boundaries that are intrinsic to language itself.

I mean who knew what a URL was fifteen years ago and what about X-Box, FaceBook, status updates, profiles, search engines, SEO, tweet, Youtube, networks, updates, meta tags, H1- headers, #; hash tags, buzz, google, LBS, text, email, ( I still think of the LDS church whenever people say LBS)

Social Language; the language of community.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t view technology, the advances of mobile and the web as the second coming. I’m not so naive to believe that without human will any real good is possible. I’m just wondering, ruminating here (my son just walked by and said I looked like a mad scientist?) do we in fact have the tools, are we living in the age of possibility? Could we in fact heal what ails human kind; what divides, disconnects, separates us from one another?

And yes, it will take much more than just SOCIAL language, but the possibilities of a united world community….

I remember the Dali Lamai speaking about what might happen if all the world leaders were to take annual vacations together. Could you imagine if every world leader became friends with every other world leader, if enemies played with each other’s children in the swimming pool, cooked dinner with each other’s spouses, listened to each other over casual drinks? The Dalai Lama’s point was that if world leaders knew each other, became friends the next time a nation considered sending a bomb, stealing assets, looking the other way in the face of disaster, exploitation, abuse or injustice; things might just be different. Because knowing changes everything. Doesn’t it?

Social language, a way for us to know community, to engage on line, across cultural, geographical, traditional and generational boundaries….could just be the end of the great divide…

The question is do we have the will?

Pam Hoelzle

The Great Divide Waterfall, originally uploaded by one42chrisp.

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