It is my observation that this is not a terribly active community. Not entirely surprising, given that we are all of 16 members here. In any event, I thought I would do my best to jump-start the discussion and flow of ideas by putting some of my own musings out there and seeing if anyone bites. The first thread that comes to mind is probably off-topic, so slap my wrists if you see fit.
Since I am a relatively new LJ-user and forum-member, I find the concept of having an open discussion with a large number of people via the internet quite fascinating. People with widely varying geographical locations, mindsets, interests, and opinions can gather in these on-line forums and communicate with one another. Fans of obscure or highly specific topics, who might previously have never found another soul to confide in, suddenly have an entire community of on-line members to whom they can relate.
Before the internet, such open, inclusive, and rapid communication was unprecedented. We are living in a time when the concept of communication is evolving (or devolving, depending on how you look at it) before our eyes. All signs would indicate that the internet is here to stay, and perhaps to take over the world. What does this mean for the vehicle of our communications: the English language? One need only to peruse a non-stickler-infested forums to see the havoc being wrought on our mother tongue.
Is this cause to panic? Will the fabric of the English language, so carefully and meticulously woven by centuries of use and protected by grammarians and educational institutions, unravel like a cheap sweater? I think not. But it will most certainly change, perhaps even substantially. It remains to be seen whether the “netspeak” vernacular will evolve apart and separately from more conventional and cultured communications, or whether it will come to influence the entire English language.
What I find to be both seductive and unsettling about on-line communications is that it is ultimately impermanent. There is something wonderful about an impromptu, rapid-fire exchange, but something equally disconcerting when it is replaced moments later by a new thread or post. Internet communications suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. In that way, it feels as though the more people who populate message boards and forums, the more energy and creativity we are hemorrhaging into an abyss. Where does it all go? What is the worth of on-line communication in terms of the evolution of our language and our society? Have we opened a wound that we won’t be able to heal? Or is the internet merely the new location for pointless conversations that previously took place on front porches with friends and neighbors? But that gets in to the idea that we are both connecting and isolating ourselves with our technology. I’ll save that for another post, or perhaps my livejournal.
Whew! What a rambling, disjointed post. As I said, this is probably off-topic for this forum, but I’ll serve it up as food for thought anyway. I don't mean to dominate the board here; I'm just trying to start a discussion.