27 votes

The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google Docs

11 comments

  1. orangse Link
    Oh man, memories. The best was when the google doc was being projected in front of the classroom and everyone had edit access. An entire google doc filled with "Bush did 9/11" and "Free Shmurda"...

    Oh man, memories. The best was when the google doc was being projected in front of the classroom and everyone had edit access. An entire google doc filled with "Bush did 9/11" and "Free Shmurda" within seconds, absolutely wonderful. Screw that guy that told the teacher you could view edit history.

    There was also that quiz app on your phone where the teacher could ask questions, but you could enter whatever name you wanted.

    11 votes
  2. [4]
    cptcobalt Link
    I appreciate the ingenuity of these kids. This feels like the equivalent of me stealing the teacher wi-fi credentials to use on my iPhone—or even still, like secretly texting in class in...

    I appreciate the ingenuity of these kids. This feels like the equivalent of me stealing the teacher wi-fi credentials to use on my iPhone—or even still, like secretly texting in class in pre-iPhone days. Google Docs feels so much more subversive because you're using the thing you're supposed to be using as a student.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      suspended Link Parent
      When I was in high school, prior to having in-class computers or cell phones, we'd just pass small notes around on folded up pieces of paper. Sometimes we had to finger-flick the note across the...

      When I was in high school, prior to having in-class computers or cell phones, we'd just pass small notes around on folded up pieces of paper. Sometimes we had to finger-flick the note across the room in order to reach our recipients.

      5 votes
      1. The_Fad Link Parent
        Ah yes, the good ol days. I once had a teacher who, if she caught you, would make you choose between reading the note to the class at large or going to the principal's office. It only happened a...

        Ah yes, the good ol days. I once had a teacher who, if she caught you, would make you choose between reading the note to the class at large or going to the principal's office.

        It only happened a few times the year I had the class, but none of those people read their notes, which surprised me.

        6 votes
    2. Atvelonis Link Parent
      It's brilliant, right? There's nothing teachers can do about stuff like this; because all the "hip" curricula are integrating technology instead of old-fashioned pen and paper alone, it's not like...

      It's brilliant, right? There's nothing teachers can do about stuff like this; because all the "hip" curricula are integrating technology instead of old-fashioned pen and paper alone, it's not like they can ban computers entirely! And it really goes to show just how unproductive students are in class. I was very briefly in the midst of this phenomenon by the time I was getting out of high school, and it was both the most hilarious thing my teenage brain had ever experienced and an incredible waste of class time. I have absolutely no idea how I got anything done in high school, because the resting mental state of every student who entered that building was one diametrically opposed to productivity, even if that meant making a dedicated effort to avoid it.

      Also, the quotes that the article gives are a perfect encapsulation of Gen Z humor.

      3 votes
  3. [2]
    masochist Link
    The fascinating thing about this, from the perspective of an old Unix nerd like me, is that Google Docs updates live, and using it as a chat platform means you get all the nuance, all the real...

    The fascinating thing about this, from the perspective of an old Unix nerd like me, is that Google Docs updates live, and using it as a chat platform means you get all the nuance, all the real humanity, that realtime updates provide. It's actually just like the oldschool talk(1) system on Unix back in the day, but multiplayer. The linguist and the anthropologist in me is really curious if these kids are inventing some of the same conventions that existed for talk(1) back in the day, or if the technology makes them unnecessary.

    I did not expect to observe yet another way of tech repeating itself, but here we are. And yes, there was ytalk(1), a multiuser version, but that was third-party and most Unixes (Unixes, not Linux distros) shipped with talk(1) in the default install. I've only used these programs a couple of times, and emulations of them on BBSs a few times, but I miss the immediacy and the imperfection they allowed. Of course, it was possible to really embarrass yourself (e.g. by responding before your interlocutor (intertyper?) was finished typing), and I wonder if the kids experience this kind of thing too.

    8 votes
    1. Maven Link Parent
      It's only kind of real time though because updates are batched. You see whole sentences appearing sometimes, depending on how fast people are typing.

      It's only kind of real time though because updates are batched. You see whole sentences appearing sometimes, depending on how fast people are typing.

      5 votes
  4. [3]
    rkcr Link
    I once found a public Trello board that three teenagers were using as their main form of communication. Not sure why that was their pick of choice (maybe they were some of the Roblox kids using...

    I once found a public Trello board that three teenagers were using as their main form of communication. Not sure why that was their pick of choice (maybe they were some of the Roblox kids using Trello to form fake world governments - weird but true things kids do). I wonder how many people had stumbled upon the board before I told them to make it private, though...

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Neverland Link Parent
      May I ask how you found them? I see: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Atrello.com%2Fb%2F seems to work for a listing of public boards.

      May I ask how you found them?

      I see: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Atrello.com%2Fb%2F seems to work for a listing of public boards.

      1 vote
      1. rkcr Link Parent
        I found them because there are a surprising number of games that put their public roadmaps on Trello. I was searching for "<some game> trello" just to see if they had one and it happened to...

        I found them because there are a surprising number of games that put their public roadmaps on Trello. I was searching for "<some game> trello" just to see if they had one and it happened to connect me with that board (since they discussed that game).

        1 vote
  5. acdw Link
    It's so funny reading this while I'm currently trying to move away from using big tech services like Google and Facebook, et al. Sure, it'd be great if we could all use distributed, open-source...

    It's so funny reading this while I'm currently trying to move away from using big tech services like Google and Facebook, et al. Sure, it'd be great if we could all use distributed, open-source chat software, but sometimes a Google Doc is what's available. I love how people make use of whatever's at hand to do what they want to do, especially when that's just communicating with each other. Honestly it gives me hope for a human future.

    1 vote