Remember last week when I said that I have an avatar in Second Life? Well, it would be a lot more interesting if I could communicate better in an electronic situation. “What?” you say, “you’re doing it right now.” Yes, but blogging is asynchronous–you’re not right there waiting for my response. In fact, I’m typing this post in advance, so that I only have to publish it on Friday morning. In SL, there might be someone staring at me after saying “Hi.” More than likely, though, someone says “ADIP” (another day in paradise) and when I don’t respond, he or she walks away muttering “AAK” (asleep at keyboard), meaning I’m either perceived as rude, away, or stupid. So I posted a disclaimer on my avatar’s profile that expresses my language disadvantage; anyone who looks at it before talking to me can walk away or dive into a conversation that would be so 20th century!
My problem is that I have no one to IM or text message, and so there hasn’t been a need to learn the shorthand all you students know. I’m just an old, asynchronous blogger/emailer ;(
USA Today reports on the gap between teen IMers and adults who rarely IM:
The report notes that teens are likely to choose IM or text messaging first, while adults will choose email or the phone to communicate, although parents of teens and pre-teens are more familiar with the technology, having learned it from their children, seeing the “instant” element as a good way to keep close tabs on children.
Language aside, I guess the IMing is a lot like a virtual meeting that some of us conduct using the Blackboard Virtual Classroom. A class or group can meet from anywhere and get instant feedback. I can see that, but do students revert to traditional writing in those spaces, and how do they feel about it? Would they IM with professors more if we could speak more quickly in such an environment? And finally–will they be patient with us and teach us the shorthand?
I’m afraid I see myself now in that rocking chair under a shawl if I don’t pick up the lingo–or maybe it’s my avatar, alone in her Second Life!