Like just about everyone, I know what the letters LOL mean (although I think I might not type them anymore) but I encountered a new one I hadn’t heard: IRL. Do you want to hazard a guess?
I’m at a conference this week in Los Angeles called the Blogworld New Media Expo, and on the first day I was introduced to a website called Storify during a presentation by Kate Brodock and Jeff Cutler. Although I only saw Storify in action for about a minute, it seems to be something I could use to not only capture an online Twitter conversation, it would also give me the rhetorical space to offer my take on the conversation. For example, I participate sometimes in a Wed. night Twitter chat by using the hashtag #FYCCHAT. The letters stand for First Year Composition. Using Storify, it looks like I could pull tweets from one of our conversations into a page that would allow me to tell my version of what happened during that nights’ chat.
I’ve been thinking about audio essays where you’d hear the writer’s voice cruising along the same as if they were reading a paper they’d written, but instead of quoting folks, they’d integrate audio clips. The essay I have in mind would be an audio version of something you might read in the op-ed section of the newspaper (as if people still read newspapers) or in a journal about teaching or writing, except for that in the audio essay, you’d hear not only the voice of the writer, you’d also hear the voices of the writers being quoted. So if I were to write this kind of essay about my time here at the Blogworld New Media Expo, you’d hear an audio recording of my voice telling you about what I was up to, until I went to a clip from something I’d recorded or otherwise gathered online.
As for the letters “IRL,” they were spoken to me yesterday when I was talking with some folks including someone named Marlo who has a radio project she calls “Girltalk With Marlo.” Her card describes it as “relevant, intelligent talk radio. Women’s issues. Women’s Voices.” Sounded cool and so if you’re a woman, you might want to check it out. Marlo was telling me about a meet up, and I thought she was talking about a virtual one, but she corrected me by saying, “IRL.” I was baffled. The Indy Racing League? (yep, I’m a transplanted Indiana Hoosier).
“No,” Marlo said, “In Real Life.”
Mmmm, I’m getting old.