This type of internet was pretty small, but it showed a beginning of larger patterns to come. People want to know people, and they want to be known by people. Communication on BBSes was important, and on the internet it is huge! Out of this desire for communication grew things like instant messengers, online journal websites, and the new and hip social media. Even video games have taken on a worldwide approach. There is a great sense of community found on the internet that the world has never experienced before. Comment and collaboration have become such an every day part of internet use, one of my previous professors remarked on the utter lack of privacy in the world. That's an issue for another day.
Intstead, there comes a whole new set of vocabulary and language structure, often based on acronyms, mispellings, and incorrect grammar (see lolcat above). This culture gives way to the statement by Talmy Givón: "Today's morphology is yesterday's syntax." What seems incorrect grammatically will become accepted in the future.
In addition to this new community comes a new culture. No, I'm not just talking the generation gap, because my own generation doesn't get some of the internet culture that's out there.
LOLCAT from ICanHasCheezburger.com
What does all of this mean for teachers who strive to integrate these new types of social media into their classrooms? Firstly, I think it's important to just be aware of what you're up against. In many ways, it's nothing you haven't seen before. Teens have always had their jargon and sought ways (both good and bad) to integrate it into their writing. What should be taken out of this post is the idea of communication and community that the internet can provide. One of the Intended Learning Outcomes for all Secondary students in Utah states that students will be able to "use language arts skills and strategies to think critically, communicate with others, and understand our culture and common heritage."
Honestly, in my opinion, there is no better way to achieve this than through the use of the internet. Social media sites, especially blogs/journals, encourage this thoroughly. It provides an outlet for self-expression that invites others to join in and collaborate. Let them use something that they're familiar with and they're sure to start producing better work.
Well, that's enough of my opinion for one post. Now that we understand a little background information, we're going to get down to some cold hard facts as we delve into the world of Edublogs in the next post.