Thursday, October 02, 2008

life goes on

It is possible for chat to worm its way into one's daily life, even if one is over 50. I had a recent rash of activity on Facebook; bombed my son, and thus spent a lot of time there, and occasionally checked the chat down below to see who was there; sometimes he was, and sometimes his sister was, so this was a little special, to be able to reach out and touch them once in a while. Of my 100+ Facebook friends, most are students or former students, so I got to see which of them might be online, and even talked to them a bit. Most were not afraid of the English though they might have been online hoping to chat in their own language; I have no idea how easy that would be.

In the case of Arabic-speaking students, there is still quite a bit of 3/5 chat, which is a name I use for what I see: a combination of English letters with 3's and 5's thrown in there to represent some Arabic sound that can't be made otherwise. This is a very interesting written language, kind of a cross between Arabic and English. Lots of r's and u's also; they waste no time in using short forms.

Occasionally another chat user will start out using abbreviations like r and u with me, but notice somehow that I'm not using them; eventually they stop. It's no fun being less formal than whoever you're chatting with, and, if you are chatting with an older, more formal ex-teacher, you'll gravitate toward his language rather than wait for him to gravitate toward yours. That's a general rule I'd like to codify somehow, as a principle of written chat, as well, probably, as spoken chat.

FB provides one more innovation that is attractive to me, perhaps more to me than to people in the younger generation. I don't go out looking for chats with strangers; in fact I'm uncomfortable chatting in public places like Dave's chat or elsewhere. But I love chat and take every opportunity to do it with friends. FB is cool in that at any given time only people in my network who are online are listed; the people I have listed as "online" are people I already know (probably) and have vetted in order to make them friends. Thus FB provides a steady supply of "friends" up at all hours, online, "available" for chat. Yo!

I give an interview tomorrow, with Dr. T of our own LMC, about Second Life. Don't know where to put it, maybe here. SL, after all, has a lot of chat, and represents more than anything the changing world.

Off to bed- more later.


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