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2.19.04 Instant Messaging

I'm not a kid but I have been introduced to Instant Messaging. It is handy and fun, but I can also see its potential for mischief.

I use AOL. It's very handy with, say, a business partner. You can zing quick messages back and forth while you're working. Good for multi-taskers. Not as all- enveloping as a phone call, but more "real time" than e-mail. If you and your buddy are both staying up late on a project, you can keep each other company.

Since I am an older adult who was taught to write in complete sentences with correct grammar and spelling, my IMing would be considered stodgy and slow by kids, especially those who are managing several conversations at once.

I have a couple nephews who chat online with me occasionally. They speak in abbreviations, with as few keystrokes as possible. It's hard for me as a writer and fast typist to stop blabbing as Aunt Susan and get into their odd kind of taciturn flow. It might just be that the point is connecting, not communicating.

Last night I had what I think was a pretty rich conversation with JB, who is 10. It started out as a hoax, but I don't know just where the hoax began. I got an e-mail from his 8-year-old brother B, asking me what my AOL screen name is and telling me his. I responded. Immediately, the IM window popped up with his screen name (we'll say "Bookmaster"). When I asked him my cool "Wassup," he replied "Nuddin." Hmmm. Already that didn't quite sound like the sincere little overachiever I know B to be -- unless JB was coaching him. I tried to visualize the scenario. The warm scene of 2 loving little brothers working side by side on the computer? Or two competitive brothers grappling for the keyboard, JB having the upper hand in this case and B fleeing in frustration and anger? Or was B ever really there at all?

Impossible to know. An excerpt of our literary conversation:

bookmaster: wut do u mean?
me: What are you reading today? Still reading "Huckleberry Finn"?
bookmaster: no
bookmaster: i just finished a book 2 day
me: wut book?
bookmaster: Parsifal's Page
me: wutzit about?
bookmaster: a knight
me: wut duz he du?
bookmaster: a lot o stuff
me: like wut?
bookmaster: kill peeps
me: good peeps or bad peeps? Is the knight good or evil? [I couldn't resist an English sentence]
bookmaster: go
bookmaster: od
bookmaster: he good
me: is there a bad guy?
bookmaster signed off at 9:46:02 PM.

Bookmaster was suddenly gone but the Soccerplayer popped up with a "sry" [sorry] and when I asked he confessed he'd been on as Bookmaster. We continued our Algonquin roundtable for awhile longer. With as few words and as little grammar as humanly possible we discussed B's being beamed up by a UFO and JB's science project.

Cool.

This morning I went searching for abbreviations so I could "get down" with the younger generation, but I think these (from Kim Kommando) might not be as hip as what kids on the cutting edge are using.

  • AFK — Away from keyboard
  • B — I'm back
  • BBFN — Bye bye for now
  • BBL — I'll be back later
  • BFN — Bye for now
  • BG — Big grin
  • BO — Brain overload
  • BRB — I'll be right back
  • CMIIW — Correct me if I'm wrong
  • CU — See you
  • CUL8R — See you later
  • EG — Evil grin
  • FIIOOH — Forget it. I'm out of here
  • FITB— Fill in the blank
  • G — Grin
  • G2G — I've got to go
  • IMHO — In my humble opinion
  • IMO — In my opinion
  • JK — Just kidding
  • L8R — Later
  • LOL — I'm laughing out loud
  • NE1 — Anyone
  • OMG — Oh my gosh
  • ROFL — Rolling on the floor laughing
  • TIC — Tongue in cheek
  • TTFN (ta ta for now).
  • TTYL — I'll talk to you later
  • WB — Welcome back

TTFN

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