I was reading articles online today. I often can be found doing that. And an article caught my eye. Read it here
It was however one of the comments from the public at the end of it caught my eye. It said
'Online discussion forums are helping to destroy conversation. If you've ever spent time on some, you'll find that any hint of going off-topic brings moderators down with a vengence. I wonder if this doesn't trickle down to our real life conversations, making people hesitant to take a chat off on a tangent when it strikes their fancy'
I guess this person has never been here
But it did get me to thinking how the art of conversation has changed. Not only in life, out there in the big wide world but elsewhere, forums, chat, thearseoftheinter... I mean MySpace.
I started off posting discussion forums a fair few years back now. And I've stuck with them since day one. I still post a couple of forums I've been visiting since my first day online
I find that while I post less there (this site takes up lots of my computer time now also) I still visit, read and enjoy it. I'm also lucky to have made some great real life friends from one of these forums. And we are still in touch today
If anything, posting on these forums encouraged my creativity and my enjoyment of something. From it, with Iris, we created Figwit Lives and the rest is history
It was a great deal of fun and helped me find in myself again something that had been struggling to express itself. My creativity and my writing.
For me, discussion forums had the opposite effect that what the person said above. I wrote some very short posts, I also wrote some great long efforts. It gave me the inclination to start a dialogue with people. To express myself and to read them in return. To explore avenues and other aspects of life I had not thought to yet consider. A whole can of worms.
Yes, these forums I posted on were moderated. Far more than this forum here is. We could not even use the words 'hell' or 'crap' when posting. Thats how strict it was. But adults still had fun, using clean language and becoming very inventive with some amazingly funny innuendo. ANd most there posted coherant, intelligent musings. In English that was clear and concise. Even when not their native language.
I was wondering if it was not the type of forum itself that lends itself to the loss of conversation and the multitude of '!!!!1111oneoneone' posts? The type/style of forum leads to a type or style of posting? Or is a generation thing? I'm 35 and like to read and write in English, even when I send a phone text. I don't like abbrieviations and avoid them as far as possible. But kids growing up with mobile technology are more used to such things than I.
Forums are good in that they give you time to compose and think. Chat rooms often don't lend themselves to this very well. Actually many big chat rooms are caverns and trying to have a 'conversation' is not always easy. People can get lost. in them. Or express themselves to have some pretentious arse garble on at them in return. Or not be heard there at all. I prefer forums in many ways, though have used IRC chat for about the same length of time as I have posted. Both are second nature to me but very different beasts.
I like to think a well run forum is a way to open minds and kick start conversation and not as a way to end it. I am encouraged to see people putting some effort in. Places such as myspace I feel almost encourage laziness. Forums can also to a degree, but as its the sort of thing you take more time over, you maybe sit down with a cup of tea, browse, read, think, reply... its a process and one that, because of the time invested usually means you see a return on your investment by way of posts read and replied to, and are then likely to come back and expand some more and continue posting.
When you feel part of a community also, its a great thing. To be able to log in and see people you know writing. Its a good feeling. And you want to keep going with them, to know more, to read more and to converse.
Well, I do anyways.
Ummm enough said here. Or else I'll never stop