The Transliterate Birthday.

Yesterday was my 28th Birthday and in the processing of getting many wonderful wishes, something occurred to me. This is a perfect example of a concept that I have become completely fascinated with and researching relentlessly with a colleague, Transliteracy. If you don’t know what it is, I’ll let you know. Transliteracy is described as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.

Therefore, a transliterate person is one who is literate across multiple media. Well, nothing hit it home more to me then how people communicated their best to me yesterday.

Each person had a choice as in how to say Happy Birthday to me and they picked a way that was not only comfortable to them, but also a way that they knew I would get it, understand it, and appreciate it. Many of my friends that are considered “Millennial” used social media/software like Facebook, Twitter, and Friend Feed even though a majority live relatively close. I received emails, ecards, and quick chats from others letting me know they cared via my gmail service. Others opted to text message, call, or send me picture mail through my phone. One friend even used Skype to video conference with me. Lastly, the good old face to face and postal cards rounded out the expressions of good will for the day.

The impetus of this is that each person was able to communicate the same message to me across a wide range of media in which the felt comfortable using, and knew I would be able to understand and respond. This simple and innoxious act of saying Happy Birthday is a fantastic way to see how we use Transliteracy to communicate in everyday life.


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