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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Cut them some slack

K.G. Schneider Free Range Librarian  explaining the culture of 2.0 listed these points:

  1. Humorous
  2. Non-hierarchical
  3. Time/space “shifted”
  4. Skeptical of authority
  5. Tepid about privacy and DRM
  6. Immediate, here-and-now, epistolary
  7. High tolerance for typos and errors
  • K.G. Suggested we read Everything Is Miscellaneous and that we keep David Weinberger’s points about this being a sliding-scale sort of world in mind.  See K.G.'s message on ALA TechSource. I love the discussion of this being a dangerous book. Is any book that challenges your thought process dangerous?

    Here are my thoughts on #7 High tolerance for typos and errors. This doesn't mean our students are oblivious or ignorant of errors. It's a mindset of message over keystrokes. I tried out some sample error messages with my own test subjects (AKA my 4 teenagers) to see if they could even tell the difference. They were all capable of identifying the correct spellings, capitalizations, and even punctuation.

    When I asked them their reactions to certain types of errors, they ranged from irritation to indifference. Errors including multiple uppercase letters in the same word were totally accepted. In fact, they were disgusted that any grownups would even look twice at those types of errors in the immediacy of IM and email. Those just don't affect how quickly they read the words so worrying about the capitalization simply slowed down communication. Errors in spellings regarding games and cheat codes were not acceptable because they required precision. My teens were quite capable of adjusting to their own perceptions of social correctness based upon the purpose of communication.

    We discussed in length the readability paragraphs and their meaning based upon these comments from 2002 and 2003 to a 1999 letter. Isn't it amazing how often this paragraph is circulated in emails as if it were newly discovered?

    "According to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."

    I'm afraid their are many teachers and librarians who do not have the same degree of tolerance of errors. I know a man who would try to read over my shoulder to force me to go back and adjust any minor errors such as a comma instead of a period when I was typing along at 140 wpm. Speed in communication meant far more to me than perfection of punctuation. As long as the reader could quickly decipher my meaning, I didn't need perfection.

    Remember the spelling debates over color and colour? Prescriptive language vs. descriptive language? What do they call this new debate over IM Speak vs. standardized English? Will your grandchildren laugh at the memories? Are you prepared to sacrifice perfection over speed?