Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Send me all your ideological threads

Dear readers (uh, contributors? do we have any readers who aren't also contributors?),

Does anyone have links on hand from internet discussions about internet language? That is, message board discussions, Slashdot threads, discussions emerging from news articles linked to elsewhere (like MetaFilter, "The Fray" on Slate.com, etc.), LJ posts with followup comments, blogs with extensive comment sections, etc? I have a few in mind, but I know there's a lot of stuff I've come across that I haven't kept the links for. I am mainly looking for stuff that is expressive of the layperson's (or non-layperson, whichever really) opinions (aka ideologies) about CMC-type linguistic forms or practices.

Post away! Thx.

Monday, September 18, 2006

stupid terminology

So I'm searching for a term that encompasses the following notion. Does it exist?

Herring's "CMC Forms" + non-standard spelling, punctuation, and capitalization

Does "CMC Forms" include these other features of online language, or does it just refer to things like abbreviation, onomatopoeia, emoticons, etc?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Actually, the "new Facebook" debate IS interesting.

(cross-posted at polyglot conspiracy. Sorry, I'm low on material right now over there!)

I haven't had as much time this week as I'd have preferred to pay attention to the whole Facebook privacy uproar over the new News Feed features (for a summary of some other people's opinions though, and links galore, see the Assn. of Internet Researchers' listserv archives from this week). There's lots of points of interest in this story - like how hundreds of thousands of students allegedly signed an official petition for the revision of the features (which just happened today), demonstrating that yes, today's youth DO get riled up enough to take social action on "issues," but those issues might be utterly devoid of ultimate social significance in most adults' opinions (dare I claim). Or like how social software designers don't often enough take social scientific principles or research into account when creating their sites; if they did, they might have a better feel for what their audience wants. Or like how 30 people yesterday unwittingly discovered that I was currently "raising and lowering my glottis."

But something that's gotten me excited the past couple of days is to learn about the names of all the Facebook groups that people have been coming up with in support or protest of the site change. That is, the main means of mobilization in this argument is through the system itself (an interesting point, as someone on the AoIR list astutely brought up, that the very thing people are protesting against provides them with the means to protest it!) in the formation of new system-internal groups people created and joined. Aside from the rather dully titled main petition group (Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook)), the groups have names like
Stop Right There, Facebook!
The New Facebook Sucks Long and Hard
The New Facebook Makes Me a Better Stalker
AAAA! Facebook is Stalking Me!!!
AAAH! Facebook is now more Stalk-tastic than ever!
Death to the "new" Facebook
Fuck Facebook's New Features
Dear Facebook, Please Chill out. (U-M Chapter)
The New FaceLift for FaceBook is slightly Creepy
If you hate the new facebook, say I!
I want old school facebook back!
Actually, I like the Facebook News Feed
Actually, I'd say that i'm rather pleased with the new facebook
Actually...I kinda like the new Facebook.
actually, i kind of like the new facebook.
Actually, I like the "new" facebook
Actually, I LOVE the New Facebook
Actually, I'm cool with the New Facebook
Actually, I'm not that offended by the new Facebook
Actually, I've Grown Accustomed to the New Facebook
Actually the New Facebook Doesn't Really Bother Me
Actually....we kinda like the new facebook
I love me some Facebook News Feed
New Facebook Feeds Makes it Harder for Me to Be a Ninja

OK. It may be obvious that most intriguing to me here are the groups listed in the middle, which all start with "actually." At first I was just loving the fact that these groups were taking on a conversational positioning, such that groups are responding to other groups, in direct dialogue. This fits right in line with the tendency of people to use testimonials, comments, or walls to make conversational threads (Facebook's "wall-to-wall" feature illustrates this beautifully) rather than to leave static, one-time commentary, which is presumably the designated function of the testimonials etc. in the first place. So there's this demonstration that people really want to use these sites for interaction and conversation, whether it's on the directly interpersonal level or the group level, where you in essence let the groups interact for you, without any one person's direct involvement, other than creating the group or joining it. But it's different kind of conversation than I think has been pointed to by most internet research, and I'm not sure we have a clear way to categorize it.

[Note: the names themselves are really conversational too, and it's interesting that "group" isn't any kind of official "group" like we think of. Rather, its creation and dissemination is really a form of conversation. You can see this in the use of the first person pronoun in most of them. Hang on to this; I'll hopefully come back to it someday.]

Then as I was browsing through more groups, I realized that this "actually" only came up when I searched globally through groups. The groups for Michigan's and Virginia's networks (which I'm in) didn't have them. And, the first few on the list up there are from Michigan, while the last two are from Virginia. There's something to be done here on how different regions, campuses, communities use groups as part of their online interaction, and the language they use for it. Is the "I love me some" used more in Charlottesville than Ann Arbor? Are Wolverines more likely to use -tastic productively than Cavaliers? Do Southerners punctuate more than Northerners? I realize that group names are a far, far cry from "everyday" language or writing, and that looking at online systems automatically excludes a whole bunch of people who aren't on them or don't use them much. Still, it seems that if you wanted to get a feel for how folks around a particular campus might talk, slang they might use, and topics that might come up in the dining hall, groups might be a decent place to get primed.

Just for fun, here are some other interesting group names. God love those clever undergrads.
I am In Too Many Fucking Facebook Groups But One More Won't Hurt
I Pretend To Do Facebook Strictly For Satirical Purposes.
Coalition To Stop these Stupid Mutha F*ckas From Makn Stupid ass Facebook Groups's
Actually,i don't have the time to be a facebook whore because i have a LIFE
drunk facebooking is the new drunk dialing

And speaking of conflict, David Crystal has come out with a directly anti-Trussian (I can't even believe I just entered her into the canon of authors who get to have -ian after their names) book (via the Log). Let the new linguistics wars begin? (Of course, Truss is playing grammarian-slash-social critic, so it's not really a war about linguistics, and it's not a war within linguistics at all. It's something more like a standards war, perhaps.)

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