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Sometimes I Wish That It Would Rain Here

Thursday, December 07, 2006

what.are.all.those.dots.for?

for a moment, ignore the content of this BBC article and scroll down to the second image.


check out the text on the bottom of that sign. "www.playboy.go.to_hell!" I tried, but there's not apparently a site by that name. what does this mean? is there confusion happening about why people are putting dots in their sentences? I could see if this guy doesn't have internet access there could be confusion about why people were putting dots in between words instead of spaces. however, I think this sort of confusion may be slightly more wide spread.

I recently heard about the work of Eszter Hargittai study "average people" (i.e., not in the technology profession) using search tools. apparently, there's not a clear distinction between the understanding of the long rectangular space into which you type your Google queries and the long rectangular space in the browser where you type web addresses. a common pattern was people typing things like "lactose.intolerant.brownie.recipe" into the address bar. it's not that people can't tell the two apart, because they know that spaces in one place are OK but in the other spaces are no good. there's just a disconnect as to the meaning and function, or perhaps it's a matter of mental models. at any rate, the digital divide, she says, is not about access to technology but understanding of how to use it. the sign depicted above, I think, may be a case of this sort of digital divide.

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