Debate and Discussion

Antisocial Networking
lothar at 7:01AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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overall , do you think social networking sites like facebook , twatter , or even drunk duck are making us more social?
i mean , are they augmenting our human to human interactions or retarding them ?
personally , i have noticed a dramatic decline in the frequency and quality of actual real life conversations i have had in the past few years. where before i would go out to the bar and see friends or talk on the phone , or even write letters ; now i just gloss over the random postings on facebook , haunt various forums, and stubbornly ignore emails .
is it just me or is this a growing trend for “social”networks to make people more antisocial ???
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
ozoneocean at 9:20AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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I'm not sure Lothar. Studies suggest that heavy users of social networking sites do so to augment their non-internet friendship networks, not replace them.
I myself see old friends less, but it's a lot easier to keep up with them and catch up again even though our spheres of life have separated us over time.

Having an option for social interaction over the net does make us lazy about face to face interaction though, in a way. You're right bout that- not because it's at our “fingertips” but because it's easier to find people who have similar interests, even though they're more likely to be more geographically diverse.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Hawk at 9:50AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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I think you could still classify social networks as “socialization”, but I feel like it's a lower quality of interaction. I mean, when making a text post, you have a lot more time to sort your words and don't even have to worry about voice inflection, body language, or facial expressions…. so if you think of communication as practice in human interaction, you're not getting as much practice through a website as you would face-to-face.

As a side note, social networks irritate me. I'm so sick of hearing about Twitter on places like CNN and late night shows. So honestly, I could stand to have a lot less of the social networking going on.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:47PM
ozoneocean at 10:18AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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Hawk
but I feel like it's a lower quality of interaction. I mean, when making a text post, you have a lot more time to sort your words and don't even have to worry about voice inflection, body language, or facial expressions
This doesn't matter nearly as much as you'd think. There is an old urban myth that something like 90% of human communication is nonverbal- in reality that was a small part of a very old study that was taken completely out of context and parroted until it became a “fact”. -to the extreme embarrassment and annoyance of the scientist who came up with it. :)
The fact is that humans will use any means available to communicate and one means has no less or greater worth than any other; it's all simply communication.

You may however be weighting your own perceptions with ideas about social acceptability of various forms, your own irritation (as you mention), or maybe even positive or negative experiences. That is valid of course, from your own position, but it doesn't have direct baring on the communication forms themselves.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Orin J Master at 11:14AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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the short version is the internet's very useful for keeping in touch with your current friends, but rubbish for meeting new ones simply because you're only interacting through text, and people simply add what inflections they want to that depending on their own mood instead of the poster's.

Also, while i'm sure you've covered a lot of research on the matter ozone, you're overlooking how much normal face to face communication is affected by contextual cues. Sarcasm for example is most often saying on thing, but using the tone and pitch of your voice or your body language to infer that it's actually an absurd lie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
kyupol at 11:41AM, Dec. 7, 2009
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You can use meetup.com or look at the local “community events” section of your local newspaper. Meet up with like-minded people.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
ozoneocean at 8:58PM, Dec. 7, 2009
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Orin J Master
but rubbish for meeting new ones simply because you're only interacting through text, and people simply add what inflections they want to that depending on their own mood instead of the poster's.
The disadvantage you list here is not real, that is just your perception of what you imagine a failing of that form of communication to be.

Orin J Master
Also, while i'm sure you've covered a lot of research on the matter ozone, you're overlooking how much normal face to face communication is affected by contextual cues. Sarcasm for example is most often saying on thing, but using the tone and pitch of your voice or your body language to infer that it's actually an absurd lie.
I prefer to indicate my sarcasm solely through pheromones…
You use body language for sarcasm? o_O

You imagine that understanding and mastery of communication forms is somehow instinctual. It ALL has to be learned, and learning is an on-going process. A person can as easily miss-read a sarcastic comment face to face as in text in a forum. Both the transmission and reception of information requires specialist knowledge from all parties to varying degrees.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
BffSatan at 9:18PM, Dec. 7, 2009
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lothar
Blah blah blah blah blah technology. Blah blah blah blah blah kids today. Blah blah blah blah blah back in my day. Blah blah blah blah blah demon robots.
Mmmkay.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
lothar at 3:36AM, Dec. 8, 2009
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BffSatan
Mmmkay.

ironic much ?
as to my original question, i think this response would serve as proof of SN retarding communication
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Orin J Master at 5:15PM, Dec. 8, 2009
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lothar
BffSatan
Mmmkay.

ironic much ?
as to my original question, i think this response would serve as proof of SN retarding communication

unless we know that he's more communicative and personable in real life, we probably have to assume that he's throwing off the example by just plain being something of an asshole.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
HippieVan at 8:04PM, Dec. 8, 2009
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I'm a big fan of online communication because I am super shy and it makes it a lot easier for me to talk to people. I'd probably have no(or almost no) friends right now if I didn't have the good ol' internet to help.

But I've been in a couple of arguments where the problem was just that sarcasm doesn't come across well in online conversations. Those most likely wouldn't have happened if I was talking to the person face to face.

So I don't know. It has upsides and downsides.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
isukun at 2:37AM, Dec. 9, 2009
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Online communication to some extent screws withhow we view one another. The level of anonymity makes it too easy for people to shed their reservations and act out of character. Unfortunately, this more often than not results in people acting like total ass monkeys with each other.

With established friendships, I agree it can be a great way to stay in touch with people who have moved on in life. I don't really trust any online specific friendship, however. I don't truly know that person. Sure, people can lie to your face, too, but odds are, you're going to see a better representation of them speaking to them in person than you would talking to them online. I know my personality is very different online than it is offline.

I think we lose a lot of the personal touch when we communicate digitally. It's like the cases where people commit suicide online and people encourage them to kill themselves and then moch and laugh at them when the deed is done. It is totally contrary to how most people would react in real life if someone were threatening to shoot themselves on the sidewalk or jump off a building.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
xerjester at 8:45AM, Dec. 9, 2009
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Gotta agree with Isukun here. See also Penny Arcade's Internet Fuckwad Theory.

As for developing honed social skills… well, it depends on which braintrust you ask. UCLA and Harvard ran similar studies and came up with different conclusions at the end of the day. Likewise, there was a pretty interesting article on games like World of Warcraft as a means of developing better social skills and organization ( situations of players having to modify their behavior and interact to illicit more positive reactions in others, etc). Then again, another study tried to use the “blood plague” incident in that game as a means of mapping real-life outbreak scenarios, but never factored in the “lulz variable” of people spreading the contagion because they thought it was funny.

Take it as you will.

For my part? It's a preference issue. I prefer to speak to people face to face. Hell, I'll take VOIP over a chat window any day so I can at least hear the cadence and inflection of what someone's saying.

Now, Social Networking influencing/degrading the English language? Oh man. It's the apocLOLypse. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
ozoneocean at 6:55PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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It seems to me that people's problems aren't really with the forms of communication and social interaction, but with their own expectations. People seem to expect all forms of communication and social interaction to work exactly the same as they do when two people are face to face with each other, speaking the same language and able to understand each others specific references, intonations, hints, allusions and all the rest.
-In every way that other forms of communication fail to match up with this ideal they apparently fail overall.

This seems unrealistic and even ridiculous to me. Just because things are different does not mean they are worse.
They are worse at being the same, that's true. So then realise that they are different and learn to work with that.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
flapjack1995 at 7:35PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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I'm not really for either form of communication. Face-to-face interaction is great, because of the energy you get from being around other people. The conversations feel more natural, and embarrassing yourself is a lot easier, which is actually kind of fun to get out of (or maybe that's just me). But talking online has its advantages, such as being able to send links and files on command, instead of writing down a link. I've met a lot of people in other countries and other parts of Canada over the internet, and I still talk to them. It's probably because I talk to people who are all older than me, but I find I can get a lot of mature insight from the carefully-thought out electric words. (Of course, I also get a lot of art advice, simply because I mostly talk to other artists.)
|GTR|FJ|MSC|
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
xerjester at 7:47PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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“This seems unrealistic and even ridiculous to me.”

I just prefer face-to-face. Note prefer. It's two different animals, and I don't think it was intimated otherwise ;) I also think that most people would agree that they're different, and the expectations mostly stem from expecting baseline traits and the like that they perceive from other forms of interaction.

Ergo: I like face-to-face or vocal at least because I can hear inflection, intent, etc. Do I think textual fails by comparison? Nope. I do, however, think that the net allows for too many things that break communication down- misreading, misunderstanding, and (sadly) people taking advantage of limited anonymity to say things they wouldn't when just out and about offline.

I stress here; my opinion and preference.

On the OP's order of business about progression or regression, I really think it's both, and wholly dependent on the individual. Some people take to it and come out of their shells. Others recede into preferring the majority of their interaction to be online. Without stopping work to pull what information I can from studies, this is based entirely on people I know and interact with. I'm sure numbers could be pulled that are more conclusive than my hearsay, but I'm just tossing in my two cents.

But then again, if that part wasn't directed by way of reply to what I wrote, then apologies. I misread. Ahhh… what a funky ol' means of communication the net truly be.

*bamf*
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
ozoneocean at 8:46PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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xerjester
think that the net allows for too many things that break communication down- misreading, misunderstanding, and (sadly) people taking advantage of limited anonymity to say things they wouldn't when just out and about offline.
So, considering that these are perceived disadvantages that exist in relation to your ideal (which is face to face communication), not disadvantages of the communication methods themselves, could you not learn to compensate for them or even nullify them by learning more appropriate ways of dealing with online communication?
-As you do in face to face communication-
i.e. You wouldn't normally go to a job interview while cross-dressing, naked, shouting, or stinking like a pig. You wouldn't usually launch into an in depth discussion with someone who didn't speak the same language, use obscenities against strangers waiting at a buss stop, and so on.
-All the perceived issues and breakdowns people have with online communication exist very much in offline communication, except the consequences of such breakdowns can be many times more serious.
————-

Lothar is claiming that online interaction is reducing the amount and quality of his offline interaction. We could rationalise that by saying that he's simply moving the majority of his interaction to the web; there is no net reduction. We could also justify that by saying the situation is not the fault of the internet but Lothar himself and his own laziness; is he using the internet as an excuse for this laziness? There is nothing in it that compels him to transfer the majority of his interaction to it.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
xerjester at 9:12PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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Why are you picking apart something I prefer and then going to extreme examples to do so? I like apples - so you're going to lay into me vis a vis about oranges? Seriously- what's this tete a tete about?

You said it yourself- the consequences of pulling nonsense offline are more severe- i.e. my point about people getting away with being idiots. Did I say that was the absolute? Nope. Did I say that it's inferior to verbal communication? Nope. I pointed out the very real drawbacks that do sometimes occur- does that mean I'm inferring that verbal's the only way to go? Nope.

I mean, really.

I like you, mate- but you're coming at me from a platform of some higher sensibility when all I said was “Hey. I like talking to people face to face. Oh, by the way, I see it (the answer) to the OP's question as both, and really an individual point of view, as I've seen the good and bad results in multiple people I know. That's where I stand.” What am I met with? Practically histrionics and a semi-dressing down on why my liking verbal over online communication is flawed.

I'm sorry - but what the hell? Aside from wanting to dissemble a person's choice on a matter where he's not remotely slamming other options, I really can not understand where you're coming from.

So, again - I've got to ask: why are you trying to pull apart a sentiment which is, effectively, citing a base opinion while going on to see both sides of the equation based completely on personal experience? I didn't use absolutes, or say “hey, this is how it is, and here's why”.

Can you entirely blame the Net? Of course not. But it's not blameless, either. Means to an end. I'm not rationalizing anything here, nor am I pulling “what works” from a disparate pool of data to cement my claim. In fact, I never made a claim beyond “here's what I like, and oh, by the way, here's what I have seen on the progression/regression aspect of it.”

Are we arguing just to argue now? Because, I have to tell you, I've already conceded that the forms are different. I never laid blame for any downfall on the platform of communication solely or on the people using it. I feel it's both, that they all have drawbacks and bonuses, that they illicit positive and negative response in people, and due to/ in spite of all of that, I like hearing another person's voice. I've offered nothing to the contrary. I like actually talking to people. That's my apple. Is it a perfect apple? Hell no - but it's sweet to me. ;)

I'm genuinely bewildered. Call me dense. Think me banal. To me, that was kind of unnecessary, mate. To each their own. I point out the means of communication even as I cite the people's differing reactions to it because that's what they are: a means.

But I go on. No bruised feelings Ozone. I just have no idea what you are on at me about. I'll leave it to the people actually on the for/against positions of play.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
ozoneocean at 9:49PM, Dec. 9, 2009
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Sorry xerjester, I'm not getting personal here, I'm just trying to look at the concepts analytically. I studied this field a bit a few years ago as part of my post graduate studies at university so my interest is rather technical.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
HippieVan at 4:04PM, Dec. 10, 2009
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flapjack1995
I'm not really for either form of communication. Face-to-face interaction is great, because of the energy you get from being around other people. The conversations feel more natural, and embarrassing yourself is a lot easier, which is actually kind of fun to get out of (or maybe that's just me). But talking online has its advantages, such as being able to send links and files on command, instead of writing down a link. I've met a lot of people in other countries and other parts of Canada over the internet, and I still talk to them. It's probably because I talk to people who are all older than me, but I find I can get a lot of mature insight from the carefully-thought out electric words. (Of course, I also get a lot of art advice, simply because I mostly talk to other artists.)

Well there's definitely an advantage. Here in middle-of-nowhere-ville, the people aren't all that diverse. The internet's given me the opportunity to talk with a lot of different people who I would never get the chance to speak to if face-to-face was our only method of communication.

But I also thought of another thing that can be a disadvantage: if there is an argument, or one person just gets tired of another in an online friendship, it is ridiculously easy for that person to just disappear. In real life, you'd bump into that person at the supermarket, you could call them, and so on. It wouldn't be so easy to give up friendships over a bit of anger.
Although I suppose if we all had better people skills that wouldn't matter anyhoo.
And that could also be a good thing if you were being harassed, I suppose.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:49PM
lothar at 3:02AM, Dec. 16, 2009
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Hippie Van
But I also thought of another thing that can be a disadvantage: if there is an argument, or one person just gets tired of another in an online friendship, it is ridiculously easy for that person to just disappear. In real life, you'd bump into that person at the supermarket, you could call them, and so on. It wouldn't be so easy to give up friendships over a bit of anger.
Although I suppose if we all had better people skills that wouldn't matter anyhoo.
And that could also be a good thing if you were being harassed, I suppose.

yea. that coul be a good thing or a bad thing. prolly more of a bad thing since it makes it so people dont realy have to try hard ever.
internet friendship is sort of like livin at the truck stop - you can have a different best friend every day
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
The Gravekeeper at 1:16PM, April 20, 2010
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Online socialization works just fine as a sort of supplement to normal, face-to-face interaction. People who try to replace face-to-face interaction with online socialization tend to lose the ability to communicate with other human beings in real-world situations, which in turn feeds into their isolation…it's not a pretty picture. The reverse, naturally, isn't true. You can go offline for years and still be able to send off a perfectly fine e-mail or forum post provided that the technology hasn't changed too dramatically (and even then it's usually easy enough to figure it out or to use your healthy social skills to ask for help).

Am I blaming the net is evil and killing our ability to effectively communicate in person? Hell, no. I'm just saying that it makes it easier to completely bypass one's own social awkwardness rather than taking the time to learn how to overcome it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:14PM
marine at 3:23AM, June 21, 2010
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I disagree.

I can show up here at any time and people know who I am. The same thing happens when I go anywhere, but it tends to be easier to just leave for years with no explanation and show back up one day on the internet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:53PM
isukun at 4:25AM, June 21, 2010
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Except that isn't a social connection, that's just name recognition. I wouldn't say I know who you are, just how you present yourself online. There are a lot of people out there who create personas online to stand out and I wouldn't say that I know any of them any better than I know some Hollywood celebrity who I've only “met” through the movies they've been in.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 6:43PM, June 21, 2010
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I feel like there's a divide in terms of online social internet interaction with facebook/twitter on the one side, and multiplayer gaming on the other. I'm really only experienced with the latter, so that's what I'll be referring to (besides, most have commented on facebook already).

Before I go down to that though, I feel like responding to this:

flapjack1995
The internet's given me the opportunity to talk with a lot of different people who I would never get the chance to speak to if face-to-face was our only method of communication.

I think you're on to something here. While yes, the internet does facilitate anonymity abuse, it also breaks down national barriers, I feel. In recent years, I've been able to access social media all the way over in China (I live in the US) that I would never have dreamed to see several years ago. Not to mention that, as a gamer, I can keep up with new releases coming out in Japan long before they are finally ported over to America (if at all).

Anyway, I'm just going to throw it out there that I was a WoW player quite a few years ago. Around this time I was rather antisocial in my school and searched for some sort of outlet. That's where WoW came in. It actually helped me break out of that antisocial shell, as communicating there carried over to real life conversations. Admittedly, the topics discussed still needed a little work.

So overall, I believe it depends on the form of internet interaction. When you're forced into a situation where a challenge is thrown before your group by which you must overcome, it's evident you need to be able to communicate with that group to accomplish success. Furthermore, a game that requires so much “grinding” does leave you bored and yearning for social connections with people to pass the time along. That's really what that game was all about.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
Plague Doctor at 1:05PM, Aug. 7, 2010
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There have been numerous studies about this topic,but from what I learn it goes like this:
Social networking sites like Facebook,Twitter etc. are meant to keep egzisting friend groups in touch,not to make new friends.Networking is perfectly harmless and can be beneficial,if the person knows how to use it correctly.
Well,the irony is,many people don't.Not because of cellphones,Internet or WOW,but because they don't have appropriate social skills to establish normal “face to face” friendship.
Online comunication does have the benefit of anonimity,so it can help people who are a bit shy and anxious,but it won't hide social incompetence.
People can still act unintentionally like deuces,either by texting too much,getting in frustrating long-winded arguments,getting easily offeneded,or my favorite,drawing attention and symphaty.
Even if the problem isn't acting like an immature brat,there is always unrealistic expetations(somebody pointed this out already)
Some people mix aquintences with friends,and add about few dozen of them on their social network and then you have the old scenario:
He/She doesn't answer my mail/calls,she is on MSN but I always have to make the first move, etc.
Well,ot all people will share the same enthusiasm into developing friendship(this is normal and happens all the time,and it only becomes a problem if you can't move on with your life)
If you fail at that in real life,Facebook and Twitter can't help you with that one.

So yeah,online communication is just harmless fun,not a government consipracy to create an army of antisocial men-children =P




last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
isukun at 3:23PM, Aug. 7, 2010
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It's not a conspiracy, but like many things in life, if you give the illusion of ease, it can have negative effects on other aspects of your life. There was a recent Australian study which linked excessive internet use to increased cases of depression in teens. Sure, the internet may make it easier to talk to someone and offer the mask of anonymity, but it isn't the same as real life social interaction. Half of what we are, isn't what we say and you can't get a true sense of people from what they say online.

Another issue is that we are a social species by nature. We rely on others in our day-to-day lives and to procreate. Face-to-face social interaction is a necessity. You can't build social skills through online interactions because there are no consequences for your actions and attitudes. Plus, online social interaction isn't enough to satisfy the desire to connect with one another instilled through the parent/child bond. It gives you an initial boost, but in the end, it's like trying to fight hunger with water.

Look at the cases of hikikomori in Japan. Most have very active net-based social lives, but are completely withdrawn from the physical world around them. They escape reality through the net. At the same time, though, they won't communicate even with friends or family face-to-face. They can't hold jobs in most cases or support themselves. That's not a healthy lifestyle.

I think one of the biggest problems with the social networking trend that's gotten popular due to sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter is that it isn't designed as a real form of communication. It simplifies the process too greatly, limiting what you can say and focusing almost exclusively on a one-way distribution of information. Basically, you talk, someone else listens. There is very little exchange. That's not social interaction.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Plague Doctor at 3:52PM, Aug. 7, 2010
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I get what you are saying and I most definetly agree that social networking can't replace “face to face comunication”.
But no,Internet and videogames do not cause depression,they just make it easier for the depressed individual to withdraw himself from reality.
But there were a lot of geeks and social misfits before internet.And they always had a solitary hobby or opsession to turn to : watching Tv,reading,taking care of pets,building ship models…whatever
Those people already had social problems and became depression prone,and no matter what kind of addiction they choose,the result will be the same.
Idk,the wholl argument looks like blaming alcohol and cigarette companies for making one portion of the people addicted.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
isukun at 9:27PM, Aug. 7, 2010
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The problem, though, is that other anti-social activities are an escape, the internet social scene is not seen as an escape, but an innocent and normal part of modern life. If you don't have the time or patience for real friends, just hit up the internet. Without any sort of negative stigma attached, people are free to get trapped in the internet and withdraw from normal social life. And since the internet gives you partially what you crave, you never really get the impression that it isn't working and get more lonely and miserable. It's the complete reverse of the other anti-social activities since people flock to those as an escape from society. Their problems already exist. With the internet, people don't get online to withdraw, but to reach out and it doesn't work.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
ozoneocean at 3:29AM, Aug. 8, 2010
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Both of you seem to have a layer of truth mixed in with the usual stereotypical impressions of this sort of thing.

Personally, I have a twitter, Flicker, G-talk, and Facebook accounts, and never really posted on any of them until recently. But during my short trip to the US just recently and having all that stuff available on my smartphone, I discovered just how really useful it all is!
All those were invaluable for sharing experiences with far flung friends and family instantaneously as one to many instead of a one to one sort of communication- as well as invaluable for co-coordinating things with brand NEW friends, seeing what they were doing, organising meetups and things.
Simply invaluable!

And I can include in that the DD forums and e-mail too. All of that helped me share what I was doing and communicate with people, helping to meet and make friends with NEW people- not because of some sterotypical idea of having ‘net friends’ or some such conception, but because this comic stuff is really a part of my working life, as is managing this place and the Wowio guys in the parent company are people I needed to meet with, as well as as many DDer's as possible.

In these sorts of debates we loose sight of the fact that we're all talking about REAL people, not a bunch or strawmen that only exist in our imaginations.
Believe me- In this position all these years with people coming to me all ALL manner of problems from technical, superficial, to deeply personal you are really forced to lose the “people on the net whose problems don't matter” thing and realise the problems and feelings they talk about here are just as real to them as they are in their own homes.

That said, online communication is quite a different thing from face to face communication. Each has considerable advantages and disadvantages compared to one another, but neither is superior, only different.
All forms of online communication, including phonecalls, frustrate me in that none have that same immediacy and personal nature that face to face communication has- you can't party with someone online, you can't dance with them, you can't get in their face

But online communication is better for sharing ideas and collaborating- for a start it's far easier to gather groups of like minded people with similar interests (i.e. comics, art, animation techniques etc), you can take time to formulate complicated notions, you can easily share vast and specific references, you can easily direct people to large catalogues of your work, you can easily create and share things work (music, art etc) that is specific to the group you are participating with and by doing so help spur forward more community interaction.

And Isukun- you are really quite wrong when you say that online communication doesn't have any negative consequences. There are many. All the way to financial and even legal if you want to go that far. But just something as simple as being banned from a much visited community can be devastating for some.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM

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