Socializing through the Net (Intermediate)

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Steve and Jill discuss socializing through the Internet.

Steve: Hi Jill.

Jill: Hi Steve.

Steve: Today, you know, I want to talk about the way people socialize today. We are all part of the new, you know, Internet inter-connectivity, the way we connect with people whom we have not met. We know people through the Linguist and the LingQ that we feel we know quite well. We probably communicate with them more than with a lot of people that we know face to face. It’s a new world.

Jill: Yeah, it certainly is. It’s very easy to communicate with people all over the world and people you don’t know and I think a lot of people make friends, meet their future husbands and wives that way.

Steve: I know I saw a statistic that some remarkable percentage, I don’t know if it was Canadians or people in what country, meet their future partner on the web. Like, it’s like 30%-40% so you don’t have to go to the church dance anymore or hang out at some bar or go join the hiking club.

Jill: That’s right. I mean I know quite a few, I know at least three young girls who are, young women who are on these different Internet dating sites and I know somebody who married her husband who she met through one of those so it’s very common now.

Steve: And, you know, I’m trying to understand it, because I have a blog and I don’t really know how to use the blog. The ideal situation for me would be that there was a lot of feedback from people commenting on my blog. Either that they agree with what I say, which is nice or that they have constructive criticism or different opinions. But, of course sometimes you get the kind of person who just wants to come and throw dirt at you so that’s okay too, at least there is some reaction out there. But, through the blog you know, we can, one of the reasons why I blog is to try to connect with more people. And, do you have a blog?

Jill: I have one through the Linguist, the old site, but I don’t have my own personal blog. I wouldn’t, I’m not really that interested.

Steve: I mean, I must say if it weren’t for the fact that I think it’s somehow beneficial to our effort to introduce LingQ and the Linguist to people I don’t think I would do it. And, today we had a consultant come in and give us some advice on what to do. It’s, there’s a whole different culture out there and I’m doing my blog the wrong way. I’m doing it the wrong way, because I’m sending out these messages on how you should learn languages so, it’s me drawing on my experience and saying here’s a good way to learn languages. Apparently I shouldn’t be doing that. It’s got to be more of a cooperative, oh I saw this interesting post on someone else’s blog and so then I quote that on my blog. That someone else, whose blog post I quoted, he’s then happy and maybe he’ll quote something from my blog. The whole thing is one of you know, we’re all in it together and you scratch my back and I scratch yours and I shouldn’t be sort of up on a pedestal like …

Jill: Promoting your own.

Steve: Well A. not promoting my own and B. not pretending to be some kind of an expert. I should be more of I happened to hear. Then part, have you heard of Twitter?

Jill: Very briefly I looked at it for a couple of minutes to see kind of what goes on and so I know a little bit.

Steve: You know, we, I once submitted a YouTube of myself speaking ten languages to a very popular French blog run by a guy called Loïc Le Meur. And, then I subscribed to his. Now I get daily emails with all these Twitter messages. I got up, I had a cup of coffee, so and so had a cup of coffee. His friend went to you know, Lyons, and I’m trying to understand who would possibly read these things, but apparently it’s big. Have you heard about this?

Jill: I have heard. I’ve gone, I went to one. I don’t know what the URL is, but I just put Twitter in the search engine and it took me right to a page where you could see, I don’t know there were maybe eight posts right on that front page. One line mostly, maybe a couple of lines, mostly five words, ten words of people just saying yeah, I got my new phone today. Another person saying I took my wife for lunch. I’m on time for a change. Just different things like this and I guess people kind of do that throughout the day, just put what they’re doing at the moment on their Twitter, I don’t even know what it’s called.

Steve: Very strange phenomenon, but, I mean, yeah. If this can help people find out about us, because fundamentally yeah, we work here and we would like more people to be on our site, but we also believe, fundamentally believe that our site is a tremendous solution. But, if I say that then immediately everyone is suspicious that I’m promoting my own thing. So, you’re not allowed to do that. So, we won’t do that. But, in the same vein, in the same vein of you know, how we can participate, I think people like participating in other people’s lives to some extent without any commitment. And, so that some of the content that our learners are creating for us is really very good. You had a look for example at what Paco did. What was your impression of that?

Jill: Oh it was great. It was in Spanish and it was short. Very good for the beginner and I mean, even an intermediate person or low intermediate person. Just really, I had an image in my mind. I could see him doing this, you know, getting up and having to turn off his alarm clock twice and starting his day with a latte, because he’s really not awake until he’s got his coffee and brushing his teeth and all the different things he does. And, I think he goes for a jog or something at some point and it was neat. It was like I was in a day in the life of Paco.

Steve: You know, it’s true. First of all his, I think first time around it would be difficult for a beginner, because he speaks quite quickly. Maybe one day we’ll have control so we can slow it down. But, I must say I’m interested to see the next episode. Paco gets up, whatever, he has his coffee, he does that then he goes off to work. I want to hear what happened to him in the rest of his day. But, that’s not Twitter.

Jill: That’s what I was going to say. That, to me is different. It’s almost like a little story. I’m really not interested in hearing five words even from people I know. I don’t care what they’re doing every hour of the day, if they’ve stepped out to grab a sandwich. I don’t care so I really don’t have a lot of interest in what strangers are doing from moment to moment.

Steve: Right, but what is interesting and this is where it connects with language learning, is that Paco lives in Spain. So, he’s getting up in Spain and he’s speaking Spanish and he’s talking about his daily routine. And, if we had maybe, we had a lady in Japan who gets up in the morning and she makes her rice or whatever she does in the morning and she sends her kids off to school or she goes off to work or whatever, and if this is done in short episodes like this it’s very interesting. And, of course all of the words that we use in our daily lives are there. And, of course it’s short. It’s a minute, two minutes long. You can listen to it over and over again. The first time you hear it it’s difficult to understand. You save the words, the phrases, you read it, you listen to it and pretty soon you’re able to talk about these daily things in a way that’s pleasant. And, I think others, Irene has done some great stuff, Marianne, and we’re only going to get more and more of this, so, that kind of sharing about where you live, about what you do in two minute, three minute bites, I can see that. And, of course everything relates to language learning. But, the Twitter I don’t really see, but it’s popular.

Jill: Yeah, I think it’s, well it seems to be really popular. So, I don’t know, I don’t personally know anybody who does it, but when I went there it seemed like there were a lot of people on this site I went to chatting back and forth so I guess it’s popular.

Steve: I mean, we do have to, there’s so many, many people blogging and there are people who are addicted to blogging. There are people who run multiple blogs. They spend their whole day blogging. Amazing. But, it’s there and I think it’s connected to this other phenomenon we have of, particularly young people, spending so much of their time text messaging each other. Do you know people who do that?

Jill: Yeah, yeah, I do. A lot of people I know do that. And, I find it annoying. I would rather just pick up the phone and call somebody to tell them what I need to tell them than sit on a little keypad on my phone typing words. I just, I don’t get it, but everybody I know does it.

Steve: Well, I guess it’s something we’re going to have to learn more about and maybe it’s the fact that the people who are most involved in this are of this sort of new generation of…

Jill: Like technology.

Steve: Like technology and so forth and so on. But, you know what we might do one of these days is to try, not to Twitter, but maybe have a short dialogue where we talk about the daily things of life in very simple language. Maybe that’s what we’ll do next. And, maybe we’ll end our discussion here today. Thank you.

Jill: Thank you.

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