Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rejecting the (lamest of the) 21st Century

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that someone at the pool asked me if Ellie and Ada were my grandkids. Ah-hem. But what really makes me feel old is when new stuff catches on that I just.don't.get.

As you see, I'm relatively young and hip. I know how to separate words in a sentence with periods for emphasis. I blog and am not afraid of YouTube. I've tried messenger and think it's largely a useless time-suck, but I'm OK with that. (I think much the same thing about the telephone. Your mileages may vary.)

But Leetspeak? LOLCATS? Twitter?



No, really, never. This isn't like blogging where I spent months frustrated that some of my favorite bulletin board posters were spending less and less time on the boards because they were blogging and reading blogs, and then jumping on the bandwagon myself; quitting all discussion boards cold turkey and starting this blog a couple of months later.

(In that case, I was mostly frustrated because I missed the company of some e-friends, as if a face-time friend started hanging around somewhere else instead of our usual spot. After a while, I decided on a change of scenery and ditched The Spot myself. And eventually I started running into several old friends from The Spot around new digs, Le Blogosphérè. Blogging is a very useful medium of communication for busy folks because one can read and write whenever and the posts are more static than in most electronic media (e.g. messenger, Twitter, discussion boards) and more public than email.)

I honestly don't get the appeal of Twitter. I understand what it is and how it's used (especially for businesses) I just.don' Two main things: "micro-blogging" isn't my preferred form (to write or read) and also the subscription options. I think we spend far too much time contacting each other remotely anyway (cell phones, emails, texts, etc.) and should be dialing back on that and focusing more where we are in the moment rather than who's on the other end of the damn iPhone.

Egads, I'm a dinosaur!

Second, LOLCATS. Kill me now! First of all, I don't much care for cats. And if I did have a cat, I'd care a heck of a lot more for my own cat than for pictures of other people's cats. (I'm much the same way about my own dog and my own kids.) But I have no problem with people sharing pictures of their cats. Just don't email them to me unless I know you and your cat.

But lolspeak? Nooooooo! How is this cute? Why is this accepted by people who otherwise demonstrate signs of being older than 11? I don't like baby talk for babies, either, and even if I did I wouldn't post it on top of pictures of my (amazingly beautiful and adorable!) girls and submit it all over the internet. Ugh.

Finally, Leetspeak. 1337! Can I sit at your lunch table now? As an adult, I'm quickly irritated (me? never!) with things that smack of exclusivity for the main purpose of, well, just being exclusive and isolating, the whole in vs. out dynamic. It's so very junior high in the 1980's. I sat at that lunch table, and I've left it far behind, thankyouverymuch.

I'll let Wikipedia speak for itself, here:
[Leetspeak] is now also used to mock newbies, or newcomers, on web sites, or in gaming communities.
The term is derived from the word "elite"
often it is seen in situations where the argot characteristics of the system are required, either to exclude newbies or outsiders in general.
Unrelated annoyance: Another common feature of Leet is over-exclamation, where a sentence is postfixed with many exclamation marks.

No, thanks.

Please feel free to step on up in comments and defend yourself and your love of Twitter, lolcats, or l33t.



Nick McGivney said...

Twitter strikes me as a massive insecurity on the part of the user: here is what I am doing right now, here where I'm trapped between access to a keyboard and in these seventeen minutes when I can't text you all. I AM WALKING TO THE SHOPS NOW! PLEASE KEEP VALIDATING MY EXISTENCE!!!

Leet is a scary demonstration of the continuing accelerating rate of acceleration at the point where tech and comm meet, imo. Also, the fact that our kids are technically ahead of the bell curve and we're struggling with the basics does little to comfort me. There are new ways to communicate now coming onstream all the time. The market will determine which survive and which wither. This has ever been so. For me, the difficult part right now is sheer amount of it, and the instantaneous nature of its massive global reach. There is some exponential learning going on. Unfortunately much of the content is dreck.
Whish saves me expanding on lolcats etc. (Whish? Forgiveness. The keyboard has been drinking. Not me.)
Being in my forties allows me to be choosy about what I take in. It's just that suddenly there's a helluva lot of junk mail on the cybermat. Let us resolve to be ruthless! And thanks for a good, quick encapsulation of what's going on, for oldies like me. :)

Rob Monroe said...

I've been avoiding twitter, though I see it's uses for community-style blogs (ParentHacks, for example). I am with you, I don't need to know every time that Ellie uses the potty, and I apreciate you not sharing it with me. :o)

I spend all day on the web and have not heard of your other mentions, so how lame does that make me? I just got Facebook and now see the addiction-level-program that it is. I was big into AIM before it wsa free for non-aol users and continued to use it until Anny was around. Then I had a real person in real life that I could talk to non-stop.

Okay, any more to this comment and it becomes a post, and that's not cool either. :o)

See you TONIGHT!! (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!)

(was that the sufficient amount of exlaimation points to make others feel like outsiders because they are not flying to your house tonight?)

Orange said...

I could do without ironic/sarcastic/but still annoying things like a mocking "That's so cool !!!!11!!" Who really drops the shift key temporarily but then resumes?

It can be hard to exclaim in writing. The leetspeak word "W00t!" is handy, whether you use the letter O or the number 0 in it. "Yay, good for you!" isn't quite flavorful language either.

And I love Lolcats! Hate cats, love lolcats. Especially love "o hai" (translation: "Oh, hi") from Lolcats, and a friend and I both use that one aloud to convey mild surprise/dismay. "O hai. I'm driving in this lane already, jerk!" Different intonation than "oh, hi." Plus, some of the pictures/captions are hilarious. Have seen some good squirrel and walrus ones.

A lexicographer friend Twitters her word of the day. I see her latest Twitter post every few days on my Facebook page, and who doesn't like an odd word of the day? The rest of Twitter I could do without.

Felicia said...

I think of myself as young and hip too :) and I don't get Twitter either!

Kristi said...

I've seen the "leetspeak", but never heard the term for it. I just assumed it was some kind of ascii art. More of a throwback to the telnet days than something "hip" and "modern". Shows what I know.

I don't do twitter. Or Lolcats. I don't have a cat either, and while I like cute cat pictures, there are limits. I'm not even a big cell phone person--that thing is for *my* convenience, not anyone else's. It helps/hurts that it stays powered off from 8 to 5 every day anwyay because of where I work. My phone has no camera, either, and I don't pay for text messaging (or rather, I pay by the message, so I hate it when people text me). We don't have caller ID on our phones either. And just think, I work in technology!

I do use messenger all day/everyday--at work. I can talk to my husband that way, and a few other coworkers that I don't sit nearby. If I worked in a smaller place, I could walk to people's desks, but we're talking miles between us sometimes, and sometimes I just don't feel like dialing a phone, or can wait 30 minutes or more for a response. I think I've used it like twice, ever, at home.

Laurie said...

I am on Twitter, but still don't totally "get" it. I joined up because some friends made me and a blogger I really respect is really into it. For me, it is useful right now as I spend all day on the computer with my dissertation. It allows me short breaks to see what people are up to, but doesn't ever suck me into long periods of reading like blogs can.

I LOVE Lolcats. I have no idea why. I do love cats, but I think lolcats are just hilarious. I am going to go look at some right now. :)

Jessie said...

I HATE LOL cats. Hate them. I really just don't get why there are so many obviously intelligent people out there who think that LOL cats are just the best thing since sliced bread. Its a strange world...

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm with Laurie. I'm on Twitter because I'm a lemming. I heard that it was good for building blog readership, but I haven't figured out how in the world to tie it into the blog as it hangs mine up.

Sarahlynn said...

Nick, hah! (re: drunk keyboard.) That's rather how I feel about Twitter, too, though surely I'm selling (those who use) it short?

My fear with all this acceleration is that once I realize that am important new development is here to stay, I'll be so far behind the curve if I'm not an early adopter, I'll never catch up. And then I'll be my mother.

Rob, I will show you! And the secret to managing with Facebook is to ignore all the accessory applications. Like, make it so you can't see them. Then it's good social networking, minus the coke in the bathrooms.

Orange, I'm much less annoyed by the words (like woot!) than the less intuitive ones (like 1337). w00t! was common when I was active on internet discussion boards. I got it, and might have used it, but it always left me with the subtle feeling that I'd missed an important conversation during which it was introduced (as I picked it up in context only). Which, I guess, is sort of the point.

Perhaps I ought to give lolcats another try. Nah. But I'll be less judgemental.

felicia: kindred spirit!

Kristi, yes, I see how Messenger can be useful in certain situations. But I don't personally like it for extended personal conversations. I did it for a while, but didn't miss it at all once I gave it up (absent a special work situation like yours). It's just not for me.

Laurie, yeah, I can see that (re: Twitter).

Hmm. Is "teh" for "the" related to any of this at all?

Jessie: another kindred spirit!

MPJ, that's good to know! I've been having terrible problems with my Blogger, iGoogle, Google Reader, and Gmail not playing nicely together. And they're all the same company! The last thing I need is to add another bug to the mix.

Jeannette E. Spaghetti said...

I love twitter. I had to try it to fall in love, but hey, I'm in love.

Krupskaya said...

I love the LOLCats because I'm one of those people that provides an audible narrative of whatever is going on in an animal's head and the way the LOLCats talk is exactly how my sister and I talked for her cat. Our dog had a slightly different voice (accent, dialect, whatever), but that spelling is exactly how cats talk. They just do. Kthxbai.

ccw said...

Mr. MFBA laughed at me when I asked about Leetspeak because he knew about about 20+ years ago when it began. Of course, he is not using it now nor have I cared enough to try.

Being completely in love with cats, I find those pictures hysterical. You would probably vomit about the amount of times someone in the house will say, "I can has cheezburger".

Octamom said...

Now you've gone and done it--just when I was feeling hip because I had finally figured out how to post a one-liner on Twitter, I now need to go research 'leetspeak' and Lolcats---hmmm--is it gonna take a long time to get hip? Or is 'hip' a one time conversion?

thecatsmeow said...

Never did understand leetspeak, but I am positively addicted to LOLcats. Perhaps it's because I was already a die-hard cat person long before the advent of the internets. Twitter and facebook? Never! I'm not that interested in that degree of "sharing", but I did recently start a blog. (At if you're curious) I was always a journal keeper, and blogging is just the modern incarnation of that in a sense. I'm not looking for some humongous readership, but if people are curious they're always welcome unless they start spewing nasty comments. There's one guy whose blog I've followed for several years now who recently posted about the loss of his dog; it was almost like it had happened to a friend because I'm a long term reader. It's not the same as a "live" relationship, but in some ways for a person with my particular glitches and issues it's easier to deal with. (And yes, I've been reading you for almost as long as this other guy I mentioned...)

shannon said...

I love twitter. I use twitterfeed for my business blog. I also use it for mini updates like 1.5 pages to go, which used to clutter my blog.

I love the internet. In the moment, you're worried that you've bothered someone, that your tone of voice is not *quite* correct, that your shirt is inside out, and it's freeing to communicate without all the work.

Camera Obscura said...

There's a nice undercurrent of irony in LOLcats. I do speak LOL, but not L337. And I don't Twitter.

Just remember: Evry teim U "I can has", a LOLkitteh diez.

Sarahlynn said...

Jeanette, that's all the more reason for me not to try it, then, I don't have time for another addiction!

Krupskaya, perhaps this is just a taste that some have and others don't share. Like sushi.

CCW, "can has" Ahhhhhhhhrgh!

Octamom, I fear that becoming and remaining "hip" is a full-time occupation and one is always at risk of backsliding into suburban-dwelling, sweatpants-wearing, walkman-listening uncoolness.

Thecatsmeow, thanks! I'll check out your blog. And I agree with you about longterm online relationships being quite as absorbing and "real" as ftf relationships.

Shannon, I see that, I really do. (Especially with the business stuff, but all of it, really.) It's just not something I want to do (practice or consume) and I worry about it becoming ubiquitous. I want to not have to do it without being a Luddite.

Camera, I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you because I just ran screaming from the room!

Tracey said...

I admit it, I am a LOLcat addict. It's shamefully amusing but I love love love it. :)

Anonymous said...