October 6, 2010

The march of Aspberger's online

I don't think we're much more Aspbergery in the post-internet age than before, since the big change is pre vs. post-modern. Still, the internet opens a clearer window on what makes people tick, and gives Aspberger's people more things to fold into their bloating collection of geekisms.

The strongest current sign of this is the use of the @ character when addressing people in blog posts or comments. I have yet to see this in emails or on Facebook, though, thank god. (I believe this started as the built-in response on Twitter, and people have adopted it elsewhere voluntarily.) For example, the Aspberger's guy will write "@Bill" followed by a comma, colon, double dash, etc. A simple "Bill" followed by a comma or whatever would do. But how can you level up your geek magic points if you refrain from casting the @ spell? That concern trumps readability.

Hopefully this stupid trend won't last, given that it's not popular with the young, who avoid Twitter and have no nostalgic emotional connection to conventions that were born in email.


  1. I've seen it on Facebook for a couple of months now. You should see it soon enough.

  2. "Posted by agnostic @ 12:07 PM"


  3. Spleen of Sauron10/6/10, 4:12 PM

    Twitter didn't start the @whom convention.

    The @whom convention, as far as I can tell, started on web-based bulletin boards like PHPBB (or whatever was around in 2000 or earlier). Twitter, Inc. eventually codified this into a Twitter-blessed syntax, but when it started it had as much official Twitter support as slashtags do now—none.

  4. Spleen of Sauron10/6/10, 4:27 PM

    If I had to guess why the @whom (or @whom:) convention took off, it might be an offshoot of IRC conventions used for addressing one particular person in a busy chat room.

    Any IRC client worth its salt will tab-complete others' names, and will also tack on ": " or ", " at the end to speed things along. Some clients, however, will do extra things like adding in that person's status within the channel, so if I type


    I'll get that expanded to


    rather than the normal


    I strongly suspect some people who use IRC glommed onto the former syntax, which eventually became somewhat standard Web-based bulletin board convention.

  5. Asperger's is correct. Not Aspberger's.

    David Collard

  6. I'm gonna stick with Aspberger's just to get to the Aspbergery spelling nazis.

  7. Call it Assburgers!

  8. I saw in a few years ago on Facebook.

    I remember it because I thought it was kind of weird. Someone was like, "what @blue said"

  9. "I'm gonna stick with Aspberger's just to get to the Aspbergery spelling nazis."

    Anostic is 110% rite!!


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