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On the floor of the Senate, sur­rounded by elected offi­cials and important dig­ni­taries, an eccentric inventor started texting.

On May 24, 1844, with a crude elec­trical wire strung from D.C. to Bal­timore, Samuel Morse trans­mitted the first tele­graph, forever trans­forming the world. Reflecting on the divine prov­i­dence of this tech­no­logical leap forward, Morse tapped out a message of dashes and dots that read, “what hath God wrought?”

Now Kelly texts Becky, “OMG! Look at her butt!” and busi­nessmen email, “see attached,” squan­dering our great inher­i­tance with an incessant elec­troshock torture of the English lan­guage. But if com­mu­ni­cation makes man human, then these sloppy mes­sages do more than just foster sloppy thought. They dehu­manize us.

Everyday in every office, drones send and receive mil­lions of emails. According to research by the McK­insey Global Institute, the average white-collar American worker spends almost 28 percent of the workweek on email alone.

That’s 13 hours of chugging through mes­sages about fol­lowing up to touch base about squaring circles to bring everyone into the loop about a syn­er­gized idea that’s ulti­mately a non-starter.

Stringing together these sweet cor­porate nothings doesn’t just jumble a message. It changes meaning.

The email author loses control when he sur­renders pre­cision of diction for the ambi­guity of clichés. Business pro­fes­sionals descend to the intel­lectual capacity of chim­panzees selecting random phrases and key­words they rec­ognize. The only thing worse than these obnox­iously opaque emails: The emo­tionless imper­ative.

Too often curt and cold replies pass through our inboxes: “Finish by close of business,” “good enough,” “follow up when fin­ished,” etc. ad nauseam. Without context, these one-liners force the recipient to infer, to fill in the missing context that a lazy author left out.

Of course dead­lines dictate rapid-fire responses and stream­lined com­mu­ni­cation. But these excep­tions often become blanket excuses for blatant dis­courtesy.

During the height of the Second World War, even when bar­barism threatened civ­i­lization, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roo­sevelt kept up a charming cor­re­spon­dence while dis­cussing grand strategy.

But it’s cool. Like, your job’s really stressful and the modern work­place moves so fast that you don’t have time for that. You do you. Let everyone else worry about piecing together what your half-digested dribble really means. Or maybe you could act like a decent human being.

Not every email needs to paint a little mas­ter­piece but they all should be clear, concise, and at very least, polite.

It’s outside the office, however, where the real verbal abuse takes place. Even less formal than email, text mes­saging has become the most prominent vehicle for lin­guistic manure. A 2013 study by Experian Mar­keting Group esti­mates that the average mil­lennial sends a little more than 2,000 texts a month, or about 67 mes­sages a day.

With just two thumbs and a QWERTY key­board, this gen­er­ation has bashed in the jaw of the English lan­guage. Main­stays like grammar, proper syntax, and punc­tu­ation no longer apply. Instead it’s fast and loose and ugly.

An undig­nified dic­tionary of acronyms and emoticons has tried to fill the void. To give emotion to our dribble, we pros­titute paren­theses, dashes, and semi-colons into an unholy mat­rimony that pro­duces stillborn, sideways smilies.

Sure. Some­times it’s nec­essary to send a quick text con­veying important infor­mation. Texting is an amazing invention that even the Luddite would find useful. But it’s a sad world when texting replaces true con­ver­sation, and too often the con­ve­nient crowds out the com­mu­nicative.

Had Romeo and Juliet swooned over text rather than under windows, Billy Shake­speare wouldn’t have had Juliet call out, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Instead, she’d type, “Romeo?! um, hello Romeo? Where u @…?”

This abysmal state of lan­guage in email and texts isn’t a moral over­sight. It’s a moral crisis.

Writing inher­ently employs the intrin­si­cally human fac­ulties of speech and reason. Tech­nologies like email and texting can serve as modern cat­a­lysts for timeless com­mu­ni­cation, ele­vating the human con­dition by knitting indi­viduals together in com­munity. But the inverse also is true.

Texts and emails can bankroll bankrupt ideas and poor prac­tices. Only now, the human col­lateral is expo­nen­tially greater in pro­portion to technology’s ability to overcome space and time.

Looking back, will our children read through our love letters and dis­cover our pro­fes­sional tri­umphs? Or will they sift through garbled texts and imper­sonal emails in des­perate search of some greater meaning?

Every time we press send, we decide what God hath wrought, we influence whether advances in com­mu­ni­cation amount to a blessing or a curse. Emails and texts can elevate our lan­guage and humanity, or they can turn us into sen­tient beasts beating on key­boards and talking past one another. The choice is ours to make.