So in my last past post with ‘kingdom in the title’ I talked about a random encounter with a Shakespearean-tongued lady with whom I’ve never spoken, before. At first I was thinking it was some random glitch that was really weird.
What’s cool, is that my initial reaction amongst the confusion was that some program had pitted the two of us together in such a way that both of us thought we were the ones being contacted. That the OTHER person had initiated contact. I thought she started the conversation, and She thought I started it.
Well. I was right. I can’t say I’m surprised.
It happened a second time. A different string of numbers, a different typeface, and a different style of writing. I think it’s cool that you can tell who you’re talking to, just by the things they type, and the way they type them. How they break their sentences between hitting the send button, spelling variances, grammar usage, even down to how they use special symbols like parentheses, *, -, ‘, “, <>, and slashes. Even just down to the actual words themselves or their mannerisms.
I know when I’m talking to Nick, because he’ll say “lolz”, and “cool cool, dude” He’ll structure his monologue, not into sentences, but trains of thought. He won’t always capitalize, or punctuate, because the thought is completed, without always encompassing standard rules of grammar.
Conversely, I know why I’m talking to Bri, because she always fits her thoughts into highly structured sentences. She ALWAYS capitalizes. She ALWAYS punctuates.
A lot of people claim that when on the internet, there is a huge lack of communication. That even though people are saying words in text, there can be hidden subtextual emotion behind them, that is impossible to read. This is mostly correct. I mean, someone can simply write “Cool.” and you don’t know if they’re being genuine or sarcastic right away.
But that’s the thing. People get frustrated at digital communication because they can’t read the subtext RIGHT AWAY. They’re used to communicating face-to-face. They can hear undertones when speaking directly to a person. That’s because it comes naturally to us as human beings as we are exposed to society. The problem is when you try to use those same sensory details in an entirely new direction of communication. The subtext is still THERE, it just can’t be heard, or felt, like a ‘normal’ conversation can be. For people who can adapt, and learn how to understand the subtext in this new form of communication, it can come as naturally to that person as a ‘normal’ conversation.
For example, If I had a face-to-face conversation with Nick, I could tell if he was agitated, or sad by his words, actions, face, body language, and even by the surrounding atmosphere. (more on personal atmoshperic interpretation, later).
When I first started talking to him, digitally, there would be no way to tell these emotions. Because I wasn’t able to hear tones, interpret body language, or gauge atmoshpere. However, after knowing him several years, and speaking to him regularly via instant messenger, I am able to tell his mood from the way he types.
Sorry, Nick, for using you as my specific example, but you’re the most relevant to the topic.
Now on to atmoshpere:
People carry an atmoshpere around them. Everyone does. And everyone is able to feel that atmoshpere. Not everyone is able to interpret it, though. It takes time to develop the ability, and some people just absolutely don’t have it at all. This leads to telling the wrong jokes at the wrong times. But some people, like my friend Bri, carry a mostly joyous atmoshpere regularly. I’ve learned to tell when something is wrong by the levels of sunshininess following her. I had a teacher, who carried a storm cloud everywhere. When he walked in a room, it got darker, and the mood of the students would immediately tense up. I don’t exactly know how it works, but it’s one of my favorite things to study about people. It’s also referred to as an aura, but I like the term atmoshpere, better.
Anyway, aside from the tangentialization, there was a point to all this hoobleblabble, and that is the random pairing of strangers on AIM. It happened a second time, with a different person. And because I’m using Meebo, and not the actual AIM interface, I saw their name as a string of numbers. What people on the AIM interface see are names of fish. The second person I talked to had talked to someone else previously, who googled it, and discovered a blog written by another person experiencing the ‘phenomenon’.
And here I will post that article, as it’s an interesting read. Basically, there is a bot going around and collecting screen names from social networking sites, grabbing two names, throwing some random ice-breaker at them, and then going away, leaving the two recipients to be confused and accuse the other of initiating contact.
It can be seen as creepy, it can be seen as trolling, but to me, I think it’s a fun way to meet new people. You literally meet an entirely random person at a random time, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. and because the bot does NOT give out YOUR screen name to the other person, you can make the conversation as personal as you want it. To make a new friend? go for it. To just randomly converse with someone about whatever? if you’re so inclined.
Isn’t technology awesome? The work of what I’m assuming one person who got bored and made a program in about an hour is now running free, and getting people to talk to each other who would have otherwise never known about each others’ existence. And there’s really a lot of charm in anonymity in that even when people are completely anonymous to one another, there is still communication. There’s still a relationship between people who don’t even know each other.
Completely nerdy? possibly, but cool? absolutely. Whether you’re a socialite who indulges in meeting people on the street, and despising people who feel that they need to use the internet to talk to people, or whether you’re a social outcast who needs the internet to talk to people, and despise the people who go out on street to talk.
No matter what your stance, the idea is pretty nift.