*Ding. *Blink. New text. Bold text. 3 Unread. Must read. That’s done. Whoops, mustn’t neglect that. Or, that. Or, those. Which one? Login. Another down, good job. *Ding. Where was I? Wish I had a Twitter account. That sucks. I need a plan. Think. Think. Okay, you’re thinking too much. Give each an even amount of time? Pick a few and forget the rest? *Blink. New text. That’s a lot of text. That’s a lot of bold text. 16 Unread. Pick up the pace. That’s a good song. What in the world does that mean? Random. Okay, what’s next? Knocking them out; keep going. Think of something clever to say. *Blink. One person got it, so it must have made some sense. But, I wonder how many saw. *Ding. *Ding. *Blink. *Ding. Oh my gosh, really?! My teacher is everywhere at once. Bold text. 12 Unread. *Ding. Deep breath. I wonder if anyone saw me in “the zone”? Reset. Chat rooms are fun. Hold up. Where’d my jam go? This feels different. *Blink. Focus, man, focus. Is this what stuplime is? There’s definitely an astonishing pile of language. System… subject… system… subject… converging. What?! *Blink. I completely forgot about that. New tab. *Ding. Never mind.
The experiment in wasting time on the Internet that our class recently participated in was an unexpectedly exciting ordeal. The words “frantic” and “overwhelming” come to mind. Still, it was one of the most fun classes I’ve attended in a long time. I don’t believe I could have possibly been any more engaged. Too bad it was officially labeled a “waste of time”. Our class probably conversed with one another more in one day than most teachers could hope for their class to converse in a semester.
It was very interesting to witness some students come out of their shell when communicating electronically. For some reason, inhibitions were reduced. Perhaps anonymity was to blame. For instance, in the online chat room you could give yourself any username you wished so no one would be able to attribute your comments to you. I know the Internet is full of comments that would probably never be spoken in the physical world because of this very reason. Or, maybe some students are just self-conscious about speaking in front of others and the keyboard is a less intimidating way for them to express themselves. Although, they shouldn’t be. Our school is overflowing with open-minded and considerate people who go out of their way not to judge or make fun of anyone. And if they do, at least they keep it to themselves. Or, perhaps the information overload caused them to forget their fears altogether. Like they went on autopilot.
There certainly was a lot to do. I wish I could say I gave everything a generous amount of my attention, but I doubt that anyone in the experiment could say that. My attention was primarily focused on the chat room. If I’m not mistaken, most of the communication between the class happened via the chat room. It seemed to be the quickest and least cluttered way to communicate with the class. It offered instant gratification versus email and blog posts because you didn’t have to search for the actual message or refresh your inbox or webpage. The interface was easy-to-use, clean and colorful too; that surely didn’t hurt its popularity.
Although most of my time was spent in the chat room, I did try to keep up with the emails. They got very large, very quick. Since every email was a reply to everyone, every time someone sent a reply, the payload of the email grew because the entire thread was included with the message. For some reason, it seemed so wasteful even though it was still just a single email; not to mention only bits on a wire. Also, if you stopped paying attention to the emails for just a short time, when you returned you had to search the thread for a while just to find where you left off. The same thing applied to the chat room, but the lack of clutter made browsing the chat room comments quick and easy.
The tempo of the experiment was undoubtedly set by the music being played during the experiment. I loved it! It reminded me of the jazz music played on one of my favorite television shows, Cowboy Bebop. It has a soundtrack full of face paced funky jazz riffs. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s an anime that aired in the late 90’s and more recently on [adult swim] about “the futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter and his partners” – IMDB. It rocks. Check it out after you get all your homework done (*grin).
Anyway, the music had me going. I think I actually even began to sweat a little towards the end. It’s like I was racing something. It was teeth-gritting, finger-flying madness. There was a moment when the music stopped, though. At that time it was like a pressure valve was released. I was thrust back into reality, wondering how much time had just passed. I became aware of an intensity, that while I was experiencing, didn’t notice. The silence provided a point of reference; something to contrast with the chaos.