Private conversations in public places

Social media is certainly the end of personal privacy, right?  Well, maybe not.

My friend Laurie shared an interesting discovery she made.  On her son’s Facebook page were messages from his friends that seemed incomprehensible.  Then Laurie recognized a pattern, making it easy to decode the messages.  Her son and his friends have developed their own private language to communicate in public spaces.

They are creating communities of language that are deliberately exclusive.  All in the public forums of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace.  But the languages cannot be too exclusive or else they will not lead to a strong community.

It’s fascinating.  To preserve personal privacy in the online world, people are inventing or borrowing their own encrypted language.   We may see a resurgence of pig-latin, Esperanto, Ladino, Yiddish or even ancient Latin as specialized languages for online communities.

It reminds me a bit of how my grandparents would speak in Yiddish when they didn’t want us children to understand what they were saying.

People are endlessly inventive.  We see this in the open field of social media, where the human desire for secrets is playing out in unexpected ways.

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