> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: The Secret Knowledge

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Secret Knowledge

I have to post this because it's coming up again and again, especially when talking to other people about the Internet. A long time ago when I first discovered email (1995 -yes, child there were computers in those days) I also discovered 'the secret'. What is the secret? Well, it goes like this:

I am an IT person. I get it. You don't.

I am not especially good at IT. In fact, to be honest, the odd way that you have to write in code (HTML) in order to, say, put a link on your web page fills me with horror. I look forward to saying in the future: 'Yes, in those days, you won't believe it, but we had to write a special instruction around the words we wanted to link with!'

In the future we will simply speak aloud to our computers when we are dictating our blog. 'Italic...cease italic' or 'Put in the link' and 'Choose image, something with clouds and a little flower, pink, no purple.'

In the meantime, why don't computer literate people stop showing off and start talking plain English? I think that's one of the reasons a lot of teachers are put off blogging. They sense that it involves secrets that they will not find easily accessible. And to be honest, they get enough 'trying to guess the right answer' at school.

Do you feel kept out of the secret knowledge? Let's talk about it!


Tess Watson said...

Hi Liz.

I have to say I agree with you here. I am not sure how the issue of 'Jargon' in blogging can be resolved. Blogging is very individual. I also think that the type of bloggers in question here may not be aware that they are using terminology which is not suited to all of their readers. I am interested to hear other views on this.


Neil Winton said...

I have this horrible fear that I am one of the jargonistas (rats... just coined a new bit of jargon!)... but if I am, I genuinely don't mean to be.

I do think that this may be a two way thing however... there is a lot to be said for asking people to explain terms/words you don't understand or recognise. Of course, you then stand to be ridiculed by those who think they are members of the secret society of bloggers... me, I'll always answer as honestly and as fully as I can, and if I don't know the answer, I'm more than happy to admit my ignorance... so if I have been too jargonny, please ask me to explain myself!

As for those who do use jargon to deliberately exclude others, ignore them.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Tess, although it was a particularly technical blog which triggered this post, on reflection, bloggers generally aren’t the problem. I think I was building up to this after several conversations with IT ‘experts’ which left me bewildered (more than normal).
Can’t really go in to details…

Neil, I don’t think you are a jargonista or even jargonesque or even jargon… (I’ll stop now shall I?) Like Tess, you write in a way that invites people in, which is why I’ve felt I could ask both of you questions. I take your point about the two way thing. I get quite frustrated with people who won’t even try.

But there is something which holds people back from engaging in this arena, and I think the language might be a part of it. Worth thinking about.

Tess Watson said...

Thanks Liz.

Just as a ‘by the by’,.
I asked a couple of my ICT Sceptic, yet highly distinguished, teacher friends how they interpreted the following terms:

RSS (type of bank account)
Technorati (Japanese sports car)
HTML (weird code that null emails turn up in)
Cocomment (a Cocktail)
Firefox Morzilla (a type of sport trainer footwear)

These are all terms I have referred to in past posts, but I hope/feel I have adequately explained. Are others doing the same?


Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Absolutely not!

I tried really hard to understand what RSS was after someone commented on people 'not understanding it'! I must check what you said about it.
I would really love some sort of guide to blogs with comments like ' You won't need this until you can do X or Y'.
I have found a couple of websites that are helpful, for example
Top Ten Mistakes website designers make
It's more about readability, which is what I'm interested in...