Saturday, January 14, 2006

on MSN

The following post is the first of hopefully many by my CHRI 3313 Canadian Youth Culture Class. This post is by Melissa and has been proofread by me but not edited.

I have always said...'I hate MSN'. Why you might ask? Well, it's probably a combination of the impersonal, and annoying factors associated with it.

I can remember being in Jr.high and parts of high school before MSN (or more likely before my knowledge of it) when my friends and I would play outside or talk on the phone for hours. I realize that talking on the phone is also somewhat impersonal...we'll leave that for now, 'cause at least it gives you some sensory perception of another person. On MSN you don't have to see, touch, or even hear another human fact if you're on long enough you may actually forget you're conversing with real people (or so I hear). I recognize that it is easier for some people to communicate through the computer than in person, but isn't that a symptom of the problem...that we are encouraging and enabling people to live within independence and isolation?

As for's those 'conversations' that go on forever or that you can't really get out of kindly and that encroach upon the real reason you actually signed in for in the first place that fall into this category. I know you can block people, or just not use it at all which is what I did for a while until....

I stopped 'hating' the system and started using it. I realized that although it can be impersonal and annoying MSN really does have it's good sides too. Take's great when I need to ask a quick question, or get advice on some research to be able to type it in and get a reply without having to leave my computer. Plus short conversations on MSN don't seem quite as rude as calling someone up just to ask a simple question, not to mention the fact talking online doesn't always require the same pleasantries.

As a youth worker I also realize that like it or not, some students really do open up more comfortably behind a computer screen as opposed to face to face. Instead of shunning this fact I have learned to use it as a stepping stone and relationship building tool. I still limit conversations but meeting someone where they are most comfortable is an important part of building trust.

So have I conceded for the sake of time and others, to become a full fledged MSNer...the jury's still out but for now I'll appreciate technology for what it is...not a substitute for real people, but perhaps a way to bring people together.


Blogger alexstreet said...

about the whole "MSN-hater"
I must confess, going back to the "ICQ" days (for those who don't know/remember, that was MSN or AOLmessenger or YAHOOmessenger before any of those were popular) I also was one of the haters...well lets say I BECAME a hater. I had some conversations on there with girls (which was great for a pubescent teenage boy who's scared to talkto girls in person) but a couple of those conversations ended in disaster because much like Melissa said, it was impersonal and the biggest problem is that you have no idea HOW the person is saying what they're saying. (emotions, inflection, ya know things that make or break a budding realtionship). My wife doesn't go on the thing at all for just that reason, however I have accepted MSN for what it is aswell, I simply stay away from any serious conversations that should only be had in person.

12:42 p.m., January 20, 2006  
Blogger alexstreet said...

I typed "much like Melissa said..." but not sure if that's who wrote the last apologies.

12:45 p.m., January 20, 2006  
Blogger Jamie Woods said...

I would have to say that MSN is not that bad a format for communications. One does not need to follow the herd and type the way everyone else types. Heck! One does not need to type at all if they have a mic. and speakers. If one has high speed access they can use it like a phone. It's great for conference calling your friends. Try it sometime.

2:49 p.m., January 23, 2006  
Blogger Melissa said...

Tempted but I'm pretty technologically inept!

2:40 p.m., January 31, 2006  
Anonymous Chris Mackneer said...

I am american if didn't already know that from class, but you would have to be deaf if you didnt know that because it is stated at least twice a class, but anyways my point is that we dont use MSN at all we use the IM by AOL. I am pretty sure that it is about the same thing but anyways back to the point that i want to make the one thing that makes me so mad about these things is when i get on there and i am talking to a slow typer. There is nothing more annoying then someone who is trying to type to about ten people and is one of those one finger typer. My mother has a real problem with this and she is not that computer illeterate from the get go and then when like more than one person is on there with her she takes about ten minutes in between typing. Also another thing that i must say is annoying about these things is the dumb away messages you really want to talk to someone and you try to write them and they are like went to the bathroom, and then an hour later you write to them and the same thing is on there either they are lying or they are doing some serious damage to that toilet, but seriously people leave the thing on for 24 hours and its just inconvenient. That is all i wanted to say on this subject.

2:29 p.m., February 01, 2006  
Anonymous anna said...

I have American friends and friends in other countries...and it seems as if MSN is more of a global program. (I have AIM and I don't like it btw, partyly because everyone I need to contact are on MSN anyway) But anyway my parents live in Korea so I do video voice chats with them. They love it cause they get to see me and cause they type as slowly as Chris' mother. I also do this with my friends in the States so my longdistance bills can stay at a minimum. And even do it sometimes with my bf if we're bored and too lazy to drive to see each other. It's true there are many downsides to MSN and other such internet chatting modules, however I think that if you can understand that yes you are speaking without seeing or hearing the other person (unless you do video voice chat) and there may be possible misunderstandings, that it is a good alternative form of communication. I have had many successful conversations online (because of location, time constraints, and comfortability) but I know that not everyone is comfortable in doing so. Also, it keeps me in contact with friends or acquaintances that I would otherwise not keep in contact with. Even if they do keep their MSN on 24/7, I can just msg a quick "how are you doing, hope you're doing well" and let them know that I'm thinking about them. Also as Melissa said, it's good for asking quick questions and transfering files easily.

Not to say that MSN is perfect and the best form of communication. I know it has its faults too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that all online means of communication need a certain amount of patience, understanding, and adaptability. Just as we learn how to communicate in person, I think one can learn to communicate well online too, in a different way.

2:34 a.m., February 02, 2006  
Blogger nyssa ariel said...

In my opinion, MSN can be both a good and useful thing, but can also be negetive. The impersonal aspect of it is a pain, but if you have a friend in another country that you like to talk to, this is a good way to do it. Also, the time that it does take to respond sometimes is a pain. But I do confess, I am one of those who might take a couple minutes to respond... half hour... an hour. My apologies. But Im one of those people that has a short attention span when on MSN... also am forgetful. There are always times when I get up to go do something quickly, but then I forgot that I was talking to someone. Oops. Once something else has my attention I can be forgetful. Sorry to all those who have been victim to this.
But MSN isn't that bad. Its a good tool for questions, long distance, etc. There are much better forms of communication, but this is an alright alternative.

3:46 p.m., February 04, 2006  
Anonymous Niesha said...

While turning on my laptop one of the first things that appears on my screen is the sign in screen for MSN – should I sign in or not? Will it distract me from what I’m doing or can I afford a few distractions rate now? I would have to agree with Melissa that there are many negative but also positive things that can derive from the use of MSN. I have brothers, who are teenagers, who occupy a lot of their time by starring at the messages sent to them through MSN. While typing messages they are not just talking to one person but sometimes as many as eight people at a time. How one keeps track of that many conversation at ones I still have yet to find out. Some conversation may be good but other can be mean and filled with gossip. Although people may be able to express themselves better while typing they are also depersonalizing the conversation so that things that should not be said often are. This can result in social awkwardness when actually seeing the person the next day at school. I find that MSN often drives people away from doing other things such as homework that was due a week ago or spending time with the family. However the question is, do teens spend so much time on MSN because they do not have parents who are able to spend time with them or do they spend so much time on MSN that they do not have time for their families? I am not totally opposed to MSN since I do use it myself, but not for hours on end. I have a few friends who are currently in Australia, MSN is great because you don’t have to pay a huge phone bill after talking to them. It is also great for catching up with people you do not normal see on a day-to-day basis. I have also used MSN for getting friends to help me with research. Those who are normally on MSN usually are pretty bored so they don’t mind helping you search the net. I also agree with Melissa that it can be a great way to reach out to teenagers because they often feel they can express so much more. Well I g2g there may be ppl wanting to talk to me on MSN. L8er!

11:01 p.m., February 05, 2006  
Blogger blair said...

If only 7% of communication happens through words (the other 93% is split between tone and body language) does an over reliance on MSN, or blogs for that matter, mean that we are diminishing the quality of communication? Does communication become something that is pragmatic rather than expressive? I think that your comparison to the phone is important because, as you note, on the phone you get to hear tone which at least incorporates a larger range of meaning.

9:59 p.m., March 06, 2006  

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