11:24 a.m. - 2005-01-10
Ever noticed that, as adults, we have not outgrown this tendency?
Last week, I was surfing Blog Explosion. And I began to notice that bloggers have their own secret language. It includes things like "skins" and "memes" and made up expressions to convey emotion. It also involves linking to fellow bloggers, doing surveys, and attempting to describe even the most mundane events in some new, witty and exciting way.
I remember how I felt when I first joined Diaryland. I started reading other diaries, and people were commenting and leaving notes for each other and I felt totally left out, like the dorky kid in elementary school who just doesn't get it. I felt, in other words, like I wasn't in the club. I commented, and people would say thanks, but then just pretend I wasn't there. Or at least that's how I felt. (I'm over it.)
But it's not just Diaryland. It's everything we do. Think about it. You go to lunch with a friend, she brings work friends, and they spend lunch talking in acronyms and words and phrases that you have no clue about. "Yeah, we had to redo the whole ACGR, and then the assholes at DF still weren't happy with what we did, so we also had to re-run the RTSE and the POV."
When I was in college, one of my professors explained that, in the professional word, you have to know the terminology…or risk being seen as stupid. Maybe the professor didn't exactly say stupid, but you get the idea. What the professor did not explain was that EVERY job has it's own set of terms and acronyms and shortcuts and secret handshakes. That's the worst part about starting a new job. Even if it's in the same field, you still feel like there is a sign on the breakroom door for a while that says "Keep Out: No New People Allowed." People are still talking in code, and when you ask them to clarify, they look at you like you have a booger hanging out of your nose and your skirt tucked into the back of your pantyhose.
Hobbies are the same way. Get two people together with a common hobby, and they'll start throwing around equipment talk or location talk … in other words, say a magic word like "fishing," and it's like it unlocks the secret room.
I guess my problem is that, since I hate feeling left out, I hate making other people feel left out. Secret clubs were kind of fun to start, but it always sucked being the kid that didn't get to join. And the fact that this behavior never stops has always puzzled me. We ALL hated it when we were chosen last, or not invited, or ignored…but then, when we're finally accepted, we are very careful to bolt and bar the door so that no one else can enter.
I'm sure that part of this is suspicion…that other people may not be good at their job, or that they will backstab you, so you have to be proactive and leave them out before they can screw you. However, think about it like abusive relationships. All we've ever been taught is to exclude, to lock our little groups against newcomers. And, just like abused kids who grow up to be abusive adults, we're following the pattern. We're so afraid of being outside that we zealously guard against it. We don't let new people in, because then we might get kicked out.
So, in the interest of making sure all my buddies and readers don't feel excluded, everybody who is reading…feel free to comment or e-mail or leave me a note. My comments are not restricted to D-landers. My stats say lots of people are knocking at the metaphorical door…so come on in. Stay a while. I promise, you can join the club.