The archive contains older posts which may no longer reflect my current views.

# At my speech therapy appointment this morning the therapist said a couple of things that were interesting. Firstly, that the voice isn't a "thing" but is a result of what we do. Also, that the voice is really made (and heard) by the vowel sounds as they are fuller and more rounded than consonants.

We talk about the voice as though it is fixed, constant, when it varies and is actually the result of muscle movements and shaping. We "lose" it but are actually loosing the ability to make it, to move the muscles in the right way to create the sounds we need.

If our voice was an actual "thing" then we wouldn't be able to put on different accents or do impressions - it's just the default muscle movements and particular dimensions of parts of our body make what we recognise as our voice.

Now, the point about vowels sounds was that we need to speak more slowly for them to be given the room they need, to be more rounded and expressive. When we speak more quickly the vowels are shortened and we are left with staccato consonants, the voice is less expressive, harder to produce and understand.

Most of my exercises have focused on slowing down and moving the voice more to the front of the mouth where the vowels can be held, shaped, projected.

It made me think about how, as writers, we are told to "find our voice" but, as with speech, is it not actually a thing but is simply the result of what we do.

Our written voice is formed by the way we implement the rules of language, the movements and patterns we employ, the words we use. It doesn't exist in the strict sense but how we write and our habitual defaults are what combine to form that which we recognise as ours.

Just as we can shape our speaking voice so can we alter the written one. We can retrain the muscles, project it differently with different phrasing, and slow it down to give the words and ideas room to be more expressive.

When consciously focusing on how my voice is produced, when slowing down and forming it correctly, it sounds much better than before. The trick is for this focus to be internalised, to become a subconscious act - something that we also need to happen with our written voices.

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# I wrote a while back about my conscious decision not to post so much about Twitter and Facebook:

"although I have deleted my accounts on both networks, if I keep going back to them, focusing on them, then I'm not free of their influence and still letting them interfere in my life."

Considering that, for years, this blog was built on writing about the social web, and the "blue two" in particular, it felt like quite a decision.

I became disillusioned with Twitter because of the conversation, the arguments, and the vitriol. Some would say "you're following the wrong people" but things suddenly changed. The people I followed were previously the right people but the same overbearing conversations were everywhere and passions rose even among the most moderate. The only way to completely avoid it was to step away.

It's similar to how things are now with the whole Facebook privacy issue - it's everywhere, even on sites and channels that would never have discussed Facebook in the past.

You can't avoid it!

But maybe that's a good thing, this is a conversation that has to be had and in the open for all to hear and judge for themselves. And that's the thing - it's a choice. There's no denying that Facebook serves a valuable purpose for millions, if not billions, of people, connecting them in ways they might not get elsewhere. It's easy and convenient far outweighing any negatives for most - the trade off is a no brainier.

Indeed, many may spend their time on Facebook just talking to friends and family, ignoring stupid personality quizzes and notice nothing wrong. They get ultra-targeted ads and flick through their news feed blissfully unaware of any problems.

Sometimes I wonder how much of the outrage is manufactured by a tech press that thinks everyone should think like they do. This outrage becomes amplified and its migration to the mainstream press merely serves as validation. Still it doesn't mean that opinions will change. The truth is that most don't care or don't care enough to warrant taking action - the friction is too great or they see no evidence of any wrongdoing in relation to their account.

There does need to be better restriction on the use and spread of data, how to control it, and greater education on how things actually work but for many there is likely a loss less to worry about that some would have us believe so saying the sky is falling is an overreaction at best.

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