Just in case there's a scrap of my life that isn't already already double-booked, a Wiki-friend introduced me to IRC tonight, specifically a Wikipedia chat room. After leaving the darn thing on for about five hours, I have to say I fail to see its appeal.
Apparently one of the rules of the Wikipedia IRC is that you can't log the Wikipedia IRC, so I can't show you what I saw and what was said. I wasn't watching the screen all that time, but once in a while I'd pop in to see if anything interesting was happening. Well, no. I suppose a little bit of it was interesting,but it wasn't appealing. Not to me, anyway. There was some arcane discussion of biology, concurrent with a discussion of the linguistic awesomeness of French, broken up with vampire references as a way of demonstrating the difference between second person indefinite (You suck his blood) and third person indefinite (One sucks his blood), and a discussion of the brand name Kool Aid having public image issues.
That was the highlight of the evening. Other than that, it consisted of one person helping me learn to set the IRC widget up properly, people asking questions about Wikipedia and being ignored, people trying to start other conversations and being ignored, trolls saying rude things and getting booted for it, and, at the end, teenboys typing about sex and pornography.
And I want to waste my time on this why? If this is what the cool kids are doing, then I'm through being cool. In fact, I'm neither cool not a kid. Or else maybe I'm too cool for the [chat] room.
It has me thinking, though. Despite having been online in one form or another since 1991, I occasionally realize that there are large areas of the Internet experience I've never tried, or else haven't done in years. I've never downloaded music or video from a newsgroup or a file sharing site, never looked at or into de.li.ci.ous or however it's spelled and punctuated, and never done online gaming. Is that so terrible? Does this make me a technophobe?
'Cause I tell you, over and over I see that new technology is only as good as the uses to which it's put. I don't care about the technical ins and outs of digital music, but give me a new way to listen to the Beatles and hear every note and instrument, and I'll applaud it. New televisions sets are high-def, but what does it matter if they're showing Deal or No Deal or other junk shows? Spelling "the" as "teh" and "cool" as "kewl" is interesting looking, but for me it gets in the way of communication. It's basically kid code, and semi-literate at that. I suppose there are well-educated geeks that like and use L33t and textspeak, but I see it as another way for teenagers to conform with each other, and avoid learning how to put the English language through its paces.
And if I'm going to sit in a windowed, virtual room online, and watch three people spar with trolls and ignore everyone else who tries to say anything, it had better be for something a darn sight more compelling than some kid's claim that his younger brother is using his new laptop to download porn.
More annoying typos corrected Sunday at 2 PM.