Debate and Discussion

Antisocial Networking
isukun at 11:57AM, Aug. 8, 2010
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And Isukun- you are really quite wrong when you say that online communication doesn't have any negative consequences.

It is a perception that many believe when they post online. Sure there are rare exceptions where extreme behavior has been punished, but how many people seek out any kind of reprimands for the scores of racial epithet throwing Xbox Live kiddies? How often do the jokester college trolls get anything beyond a slap on the wrist for being a dick in a forum? Breaking off a long time internet exclusive relationship or getting banned from a forum is hardly anything compared to fighting with a real life friend.

And the way you are using the internet is what I refer to as responsible use. You seem to still view it as supplemental, not an alternative. It can enhance your ability to stay in touch with physical contacts and allow you to coordinate and update people in the real world. The problems start, however, when you come to rely on it as your exclusive form of social interaction.


I'm not saying social networking is intrinsically evil, just that it can't be approached from the same perspective as antisocial activity. Unlike other activities that people adopt to shy away from society, people adopt and abuse internet social interaction because they THINK it will fulfill them the same way face-to-face contact does. Our advancing society also continues to encourage this mindset by telling people that technology can replace anything old with something easy and new. There is no desire to even educate people on the possibility of negative effects caused by excessive reliance on the internet as a social alternative, so how can we expect people to know to use it responsibly?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 3:59PM, Aug. 8, 2010
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isukun
You seem to still view it as supplemental, not an alternative. It can enhance your ability to stay in touch with physical contacts and allow you to coordinate and update people in the real world. The problems start, however, when you come to rely on it as your exclusive form of social interaction.

I see your point with the fact that internet interaction can be seen as a form of social trap, in some cases. But you don't think it's possible to act as a transitional form of socializing?

Considering the fact that some methods of interaction include a type of cooperative mode, something only too common to a place like DD. It forces the person to cast off that mask of anonymity, because in order to continue an actual relationship with that community, they do need to exercise respectable conduct as failure to do so does have real consequences. I honestly believe people will develop such social skills out of something like this and eventually realize they can carry it out to daily life. In a sense, it helps people become more social, this type of interaction.

One might argue that they're not able to make such discerning judgment between what they do on the internet and reality. But it's similar to that statement made by the anti-video game crusaders that gamers can't differentiate between reality and games (and then ultimately leading to violence). It really has nothing to do with the medium that they find entertainment in - it's just that those people are attracted to content that parallels their behavior anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
ozoneocean at 8:29PM, Aug. 8, 2010
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isukun
And Isukun- you are really quite wrong when you say that online communication doesn't have any negative consequences.

It is a perception that many believe when they post online. Sure there are rare exceptions where extreme behavior has been punished, but how many people seek out any kind of reprimands for the scores of racial epithet throwing Xbox Live kiddies? How often do the jokester college trolls get anything beyond a slap on the wrist for being a dick in a forum? Breaking off a long time internet exclusive relationship or getting banned from a forum is hardly anything compared to fighting with a real life friend.

And the way you are using the internet is what I refer to as responsible use. You seem to still view it as supplemental, not an alternative. It can enhance your ability to stay in touch with physical contacts and allow you to coordinate and update people in the real world. The problems start, however, when you come to rely on it as your exclusive form of social interaction.


I'm not saying social networking is intrinsically evil, just that it can't be approached from the same perspective as antisocial activity. Unlike other activities that people adopt to shy away from society, people adopt and abuse internet social interaction because they THINK it will fulfill them the same way face-to-face contact does. Our advancing society also continues to encourage this mindset by telling people that technology can replace anything old with something easy and new. There is no desire to even educate people on the possibility of negative effects caused by excessive reliance on the internet as a social alternative, so how can we expect people to know to use it responsibly?
You are talking about very different things and confusing them, wich weakens you case.

Interaction by trolls or childish behaviour on Xbox live are not examples of “social networking”. If you want to think of a “real life” analogue that sort of thing is more akin to shouting things at strangers from a car window.

There are numerous negative consequences to various antisocial behaviours in true social networking, because in that case you ARE actually part of a network- if you want to do well in a network then you follow the rules of the group, either explicit or implicit, just like in groups anywhere. People invest time and emotional recources in their social groups and when those are cut off or negatvely affected for some reason they become quite upset. Which is perfectly understandable, since no one likes any of their outlets for interatiction being taken away from them, whether online or not.
A measure of maturity is how well a person deals with that. For myself I handle it fine. I imagine you do too. :)


blindsk
One might argue that they're not able to make such discerning judgment between what they do on the internet and reality. But it's similar to that statement made by the anti-video game crusaders that gamers can't differentiate between reality and games (and then ultimately leading to violence). It really has nothing to do with the medium that they find entertainment in - it's just that those people are attracted to content that parallels their behavior anyway
And like the video game argument, it is really quite weak, based on a musunderstanding of the medium.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Plague Doctor at 6:05AM, Aug. 9, 2010
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ozoneocean
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.


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.


Agreed.The benefits of internet communication far outweight the (possible) risks.
Internet is a great thing and it would just be ridiculous to boycott it because of the few individuals who ruined the reputation cause they abused the medium.

Isukun-you may have gotten the wrong impression of the internet commercials you saw on Tv.The media does not encourage social networking in a way that you think.
They show a bunch of students texting from various places,and in the end they all go to a SOCIAL GATHERING.They want to tell you that social networking are tool to plan social activities with friends who live far away.
They don't show 30-year old basement dwellers trolling the game forum and then congadulating themselves with a sip of coke in their dark,messy rooms.
With that said,there is a stigma of internet using and playing video games.
You are still expected to have a social life and family life.

Isukun I'm not trying to say you are wrong,but I think you may have gotten a bit carried away with frightening scientific studies and their warnings.
Those studies cannot be more contradicting and there is no way an average person can know if the are true or not.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:46PM
isukun at 1:21PM, Aug. 9, 2010
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You are talking about very different things and confusing them, wich weakens you case.

I gave an extreme example to illustrate how consequences online aren't that severe. Honeslty, those extreme cases tend to be perpetrated by people looking for negative attention. A banning or a closed thread is nothing to them except the reaction they crave.

If you're talking your average socially awkward Joe, the internet offers nothing beyond a placebo in the way of social interaction. That's where the problem arise. There are no consequences for being socially awkward online because the fears that cause people to be socially awkward do not exist online. You aren't overcoming the fears, you're just avoiding them and in the end that doesn't help you become any more social in the offline world. Someone can be a total argumentative asswipe online and a complete non-confrontational coward offline because online he's not going to get hit in the face. Yeah, people can learn netiquette, but it isn't going to alter how they handle themselves offline.

Isukun-you may have gotten the wrong impression of the internet commercials you saw on Tv

I'm not talking about commercials on TV or media perception, I'm talking about how we as a society view the internet. We're in the information age and we have a tendency to equate every aspect of our lives with the exchange of information, particularly through the internet. We shop through the internet, educate ourselves through web sites tailored to our interests, get news from the web, watch TV, listen to music, and even meet people. We become so dependent on it, that we make the false assumption that everything we need in life can be aquired through online interactions.

If you want to touch on the media perception, though, it is true that media will help to mislead people on these subjects. After all, most networking companies try to sell internet technology besed on the idea of social interaction. No, they don't show some guy in a dark basement, instead they show happy people in bright places video chatting with people in China or people who fell in love without actually meeting face-to-face. They give it a positive spin to try to encourage more people to stay online to find the social fulfillment they desire. Love, companionship, friends, networking. These are all things they promise.

Now, I think to some extent we are not on the same page here, as well. I'm not saying the internet should be banned or that there aren't a lot of people who use it responsibly and still find their social fulfillment with their real friends in the offline world. I'm saying there is a darker side to taking anything in excess and in the case of online interactions, we not only don't educate people on the possibility of social withdrawal, we seem to actively encourage people to abuse the internet.

A great example of this is online gaming. This started out primarily on the PC market, where it was a good fit since PC gamers generally weren't playing couch co-op on anything back in the early days when systems were huge, TVs sucked, and there wasn't any really reliable way of handling multiplayer on a PC, anyway. The console market, however, was perfectly suited for multiplayer in places where people gather. You have a small cheap system that hooks up to the living room TV, it has simple controls and is designed to be used in places where people gather. The first consoles were couch co-op and came with multiple controllers attached to the system. Family entertainment and social interaction was the big draw for these early, simple games and the market grew out of that. Multiplayer is still a major element in colsole gaming, but now the online element is being pushed more by developers due to financial interests from companies like Microsoft and Sony who want to sell us “the future of entertainment.” So we see all sorts of games now which don't feature any sort of social element to them. Online is the only type of multiplayer, so people have to rely on strangers in many cases rather than actual friends to play games with. What makes this move even worse is that the majority of console gamers don't play games online. Only 30% of Xbox360 owners have gold accounts and they have the highest percentage of online gamers. This means that the developers and manufacturers are intentionally working against the bulk of their audience by forcing people to get online. So now, instead of going over to a friend's house, hanging out with them and playing a game together, you're forced to both stay at home and play by yourself. The common perception of online gaming, though, is that it makes gaming even more social than ever.

This is what we do with the internet, though. We take something that isn't broken and claim it's better online. People who still desire the old and sometimes better ways are outdated and out of it. Everything needs to be instant gratification for the new attention span-less world. Making things easier is fine, but the big problem is that we as a people have come to a point where we assume anything new has to REPLACE anything old. The digital age has already run into problems due to their need to replace everything with internet copies. People lose family records, photographs, things are stolen more easily, writings are lost, people are taken advantage of more easily. Yeah, a lot of things are easier online, but that doesn't necessarily make them better. I have yet to see anybody actually apply this to online social interactions, though.

My example of the study in Australia isn't to show that using the internet causes depression. It was meant to supplement my point that what we do online, and more importantly, what we don't do offline, is going to have an effect on our self esteem and general state of being. So no, it's not just that they're using the internet that makes them depressed, it's that they use it as a substitute for real life.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
ozoneocean at 8:39PM, Aug. 9, 2010
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isukun
I gave an extreme example to illustrate how consequences online aren't that severe. Honeslty, those extreme cases tend to be perpetrated by people looking for negative attention. A banning or a closed thread is nothing to them except the reaction they crave.

If you're talking your average socially awkward Joe, the internet offers nothing beyond a placebo in the way of social interaction. That's where the problem arise. There are no consequences for being socially awkward online because the fears that cause people to be socially awkward do not exist online. You aren't overcoming the fears, you're just avoiding them and in the end that doesn't help you become any more social in the offline world. Someone can be a total argumentative asswipe online and a complete non-confrontational coward offline because online he's not going to get hit in the face. Yeah, people can learn netiquette, but it isn't going to alter how they handle themselves offline.
I don't really see where you're coming from Isukun
Like I say, online communication is quite a different thing to face to face communication. You seem to be saying that online communication doesn't help people fill the same needs as face to face communication- of course it doesn't, they are very dissimilar, as I keep saying!

People who're socially awkward online aren't very good communicators, there's no special magical trick that makes them any better here than anywhere else, those poor people fail horribly in hundreds of communities and it's often up to people in positions such as the one I have here to babysit them. Beleive me, there are problems and fears aplenty for them!
Community interaction, netwroking and social skills have similar rules and systems everywhere, even if the communication method and what it's for are not the same.

If a person behaves differently within different communities or environments, that's not because of something special to do with “being online”, rather it's because they have their little chance to start afresh in whatever way . You see exactly the same thing when people go away on holiday or go to a new club, or start in a new school, or even get a couple of drinks in them.

————-
As for “negative consequences”, let me expend on that some more:
For people who ARE actually socially networking, who have become integrated in an online community, they have a level of emotional investment in the friends they've made as well as investment and commitment in other ways in terms of information they've shared, projects they may have underway etc.
If they were to damage their standing within their community group that could mean very real losses of friendship, cut off access to work in which they've invested many days of their own time, loss of community standing (which can often mean a lot to many people), or being completely cut off from those communities.

That in no way indicates they lack anything in their non-online interactions (this is a point I feel you find tricky), for them their online activities are as much a part of what they do as anything else.
10 years ago things were quite different! But since then things have changed. Social networking hasn't replaced anything face to face, what it has done is become as much a part of people's lives as all new communications technology eventually does- like letter writing and book technology once did, like Newspapers, radio, TV, phones, pagers, mobile phones, so much so that it's really quite quaint for people to try and examine the social impact of interactions with them in such a separate way.

I feel the points you are making are at least 5 years out of date. They may indeed have once had more validity then, but that is much less of the case now.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
isukun at 12:02AM, Aug. 10, 2010
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Beleive me, there are problems and fears aplenty for them!

There may be some concerns, but their fears are significantly reduced, enough so that they are far more willing to take a chance here than in the real world.

If a person behaves differently within different communities or environments, that's not because of something special to do with “being online”, rather it's because they have their little chance to start afresh in whatever way . You see exactly the same thing when people go away on holiday or go to a new club, or start in a new school, or even get a couple of drinks in them.

Drinks have a similar effect to being online. They help us “loosen up” by breaking down our inhibitions. It's also why it's easier to convince people to do stupid things when they're drunk. I've watched my current roommate make an ass out of himself several time with just a few drinks in him. He'd never do that when he isn't drunk, but it's almost like he looks for opportunities to make an ass of himself when he's on the sauce. That's more than just changing your environment, that's eliminating the psychological barriers that hold us back.

The same is true of being online. I can go on vacation or travel across the country or across the ocean. In fact, I've done all of these things, and my social skills do not magically improve due to a change of environment. I still have concerns about image, I still come off as being completely non-confrontational, and I'm still shy. I still have the same annoying habits and awkward speech patterns. I don't really exhibit any of these traits online because I know that online it doesn't matter. I know what to expect, therefore I have nothing to fear. It's comfortable and easy.

For people who ARE actually socially networking, who have become integrated in an online community, they have a level of emotional investment in the friends they've made as well as investment and commitment in other ways in terms of information they've shared, projects they may have underway etc.

Those are the people with the least to worry about. They have already adapted to the code of conduct for their online community. They aren't going to actively try to be anti-social, they are already comfortable in the community and the community is comfortable with them. They would actually have to put effort into breaking it and at the same time, they still don't have to worry about the 100 other things they would have to worry about speaking to someone face-to-face.

That in no way indicates they lack anything in their non-online interactions

I think you are still missing my point. Internet interactions do not cause anti-social behavior. The fact that someone can interact naturally online does not in any way mean they cannot interact just as naturally offline. It doesn't mean that they can, either, though. Offline and online interactions ARE different. We perceive them differently and we approach them differently. Just because we follow a certain set of rules online, that doesn't mean we will offline. Just because we have fewer inhibitions online, that doesn't mean we will offline. Online socializing IS easier.

Social networking hasn't replaced anything face to face

Tell that to hikikomori in Japan or the recent trends of shut ins in other parts of the world.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 12:09PM, Aug. 10, 2010
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isukun
So now, instead of going over to a friend's house, hanging out with them and playing a game together, you're forced to both stay at home and play by yourself. The common perception of online gaming, though, is that it makes gaming even more social than ever.

It's a common perception because it's true. I agree with what ozone said - your idea of online communities is a bit dated and falls into the lingering stereotypes of the preliminary years of the 21st century. One of the best examples (and has boomed in popularity coincidentally with the unseating of the stereotype) is that of the MMORPG. Believe it or not, this started to mark the end of the old perception that gamers were socially awkward, unable to connect with the real world. That accusation about living in your parents basement at the age of thirty? Yeah, it's just a joke now.

There have been various studies proving that MMORPG's facilitate legitimate social interaction. My favorite is this study, which I recommend you take a look at.

Notice how many of the consequences in these games parallel ones you face in real life. One can form (lead) or join an organization. That organization has a specific code of conduct that they follow. If a player gets out of hand by acting too greedy, juvenile, or otherwise, they are reprimanded for their actions. Goals in this game aren't accomplished alone - you need to establish good ties with people in order to progress in the game. You're relying on others to get what you want, it's a team effort. If you acquire something exceptional in the game, people congratulate you on it. Typically in these games voice to voice communication is required.

Speaking from personal experience, the level of social integrity doesn't stop there, with the fact that some of these relationships are so close that they end up meeting each other in real life. I'm a member of a little gaming community, and we meet up twice a year for a huge gathering. Most of these people you'd take one look at (if you didn't game) and automatically point them out as some socially inept person incapable of functioning in daily life. That's the thing - entering these communities, they were just that. But growing with the people they interacted online with boosted that confidence within themselves to actually make the next step to meet everyone in person. I believe they benefited from from our online company. And besides, didn't this just happen recently in the DD community? Comic-con? That's another example of an online community meeting up in person.

You have a point with the media - I don't think they wholly know what's going on either. But from your perspective, I find that you reinforce that obvious generation gap between outsiders looking in and the ones on the inside looking out. The older generations have viewed things like this as a plague. But they never understood the whole picture, just the cases that appear in the news (which are generally negative). They've never actually gone in and experienced it for themselves and probably never will.

It's a similar case with online dating. Many times, it actually works, given that the couple actually do form a real bond with one another. It's just those few cases where some lunatic meets up with an underage girl gets out into the public news first and throws the whole system off balance.

isukun
Tell that to hikikomori in Japan or the recent trends of shut ins in other parts of the world.

This is a completely unfair example. Isn't this more a culture-defining reason than anything else? Japanese society in general is known for getting attached to objects in replacement to human interaction.

I have lived in California, both north and south, and I can assure you that there are far fewer cases of that here.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
isukun at 5:08AM, Aug. 11, 2010
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It's a common perception because it's true.

No, it really isn't.

There have been various studies proving that MMORPG's facilitate legitimate social interaction. My favorite is this study, which I recommend you take a look at.

Actually, from what I'm seeing in the study, it does a pretty good job of proving my point. They even state that people are selective about what they reveal about their real world identity and all socialization is based around their avatars, not themselves. Players hide behind a separate persona online, which is exactly what I was talking about. MMOs are actually a great example of one of the problems with online socialization. With an MMO, you are playing a game. The goal of the game is to improve your character, make the highest level, get the best gear, etc. Being part of the community is part of the game and people have a tendency to think of the the game and their real life as separate entities. Just because they accept the rules in one doesn't mean they will in the other.

Typically in these games voice to voice communication is required.

Phone calls aren't as fulfilling as face-to-face encounters, either. Someone can talk on the phone all day every day and still be lonely and miserable.

I think you are still not following me and my argument here, though. I'm not saying that online interactions have no social value or element to them. I'm saying they cannot be used as a substitute for offline face-to-face social contact. Online interactions are not fulfilling enough to be your sole form of social contact. Claiming that there is a social element to interactions in games and MMOs does not disprove that.

Most of these people you'd take one look at (if you didn't game) and automatically point them out as some socially inept person incapable of functioning in daily life.

I doubt it. Besides, being socially awkward or inept doesn't mean you don't still crave personal contact. I'd be willing to bet that every person who goes to your biannual meeting has friends outside the game who they interact with socially in an offline setting. I'd be willing to bet most of the DD community is the same way.

Many times, it actually works, given that the couple actually do form a real bond with one another.

Online dating only serves as a digital matchmaker. The people still have to meet face-to-face before any real bond is formed.

Japanese society in general is known for getting attached to objects in replacement to human interaction.

Hikikomori are not a result of Japan's material culture. They are a result of societal pressures placed on Japanese youths. Everything is about performance and if you can't make the grade or pass the test, you are unimportant, even in the eyes of your peers. Unlike in the US, kids are ranked in Japan based on test scores and overall performance. Success makes you popular, while failure makes you a deviant. Those kids withdraw because they are hoping to get the kind of validation online that they feel they can't get offline.

It is an extreme case, but not one that doesn't have parallels here in the US.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 11:31AM, Aug. 11, 2010
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isukun
Actually, from what I'm seeing in the study, it does a pretty good job of proving my point. They even state that people are selective about what they reveal about their real world identity and all socialization is based around their avatars, not themselves. Players hide behind a separate persona online, which is exactly what I was talking about. MMOs are actually a great example of one of the problems with online socialization. With an MMO, you are playing a game. The goal of the game is to improve your character, make the highest level, get the best gear, etc. Being part of the community is part of the game and people have a tendency to think of the the game and their real life as separate entities. Just because they accept the rules in one doesn't mean they will in the other.

Let me know when you read the entire study. It wasn't really there to prove anything, but provide a conceptual framework for you to make your own assumptions from it. What did I gather from this? Players generally can hide behind their avatars, and they do until they want to progress even further in the game. MMOs are notorious for “grinding” where you're sitting there executing a repetitive task - players end up filling this time spent talking with others. If they want to join a clan or guild, they're accomplishing achievements within the game that require others. They see these people every day, are forced to speak with them verbally, and share in loss or victory. Much like a real family. Any normal player in these MMOs will be able to notice how closely it follows those social interactions they've been neglecting in real life.

Yes, I know you already acknowledged the fact that there is social interaction found in MMOs, but I'm trying to lead up to the point that…

isukun
I think you are still not following me and my argument here, though. I'm not saying that online interactions have no social value or element to them. I'm saying they cannot be used as a substitute for offline face-to-face social contact.

There is a little confusion because I never really disagreed that online communication is a complete substitute for real life interaction. Instead, I was arguing against your claim that it is a form of social trap. I find that it's a healthy transitional from of interaction, one that will help you step into reality. I've carried out both a professional job and played MMOs, and I must say, some of the practices I used to apply for a guild I used as techniques to apply for a job. See what I mean by transitional?

On a side note, the reason I brought up voice-to-voice interaction was because it's a little more exposing than speaking through text. First off - people already have an idea of your age. Second of all, they know your gender. Beyond that, they can tell if you're impatient, excited, sad, hurt, and otherwise. Just by hearing the tones of your voice. There's only one key thing you're missing out on - physical intimacy. A handshake, pat on the shoulder, or brush of the hair is really all that's missing from the conversation.

isukun
I doubt it. Besides, being socially awkward or inept doesn't mean you don't still crave personal contact. I'd be willing to bet that every person who goes to your biannual meeting has friends outside the game who they interact with socially in an offline setting. I'd be willing to bet most of the DD community is the same way.

They do now, yes. Our online gaming community reached out to some of these people to have somewhat of a contest in order to encourage them to get out more. And you know what? It worked. They just needed our online interaction to build up that confidence.

isukun
Online dating only serves as a digital matchmaker. The people still have to meet face-to-face before any real bond is formed.

I apologize for being unclear - I never meant online dating services. I meant the bonds that form without a matchmaker. Those take months of online interaction before the people actually care to meet up. Generally they find each other sharing a common activity, for instance comic making or a game they play together!

isukun
Hikikomori are not a result of Japan's material culture.

I should have looked up the term. I thought you were referring to something completely different.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
isukun at 10:04PM, Aug. 11, 2010
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I find that it's a healthy transitional from of interaction

Except the exact opposite can also occur. I know quite a few people who use online gaming as a way to stay in touch with friends who move on. They figure through the use of gaming they can still participate in their favorite hobby and by getting online they can stay in touch with friends who are hundreds of miles away. The problem is that they also figure this is enough and they don't make an effort to make new local friends. It's actually a pretty common issue in online gamers. They head off to college or move to a new town and instead of making new friends in their new locale, they simply rely on online interactions with their old friends. It's particularly tough when you get older and the people around you grow out of the interests you enjoy. I manage it because I'm an animator and everybody I work with is basically a big kid with the same interests I have. Someone in a different field may not be so lucky, and rather than seek out places where they CAN meet like-minded people, they rely on their old friends and the internet.

A handshake, pat on the shoulder, or brush of the hair is really all that's missing from the conversation.

Actually, you also lose all of the body language and quite frequently, status and tone don't translate without it. Also, as I've stated before, the consequences of what you say are greatly decreased, so you are more free to act outside of your normal character.

Those take months of online interaction before the people actually care to meet up.

Still, it is with that purpose in mind that they have these interactions online. Plus, even in those situations, you also get the people who get so comfortable with their online persona, they will string the other person along and never meet up with them face-to-face. I have an aunt who does that. She isn't antisocial, she goes online to be social, but she has invested so much time in how she presents herself online, that she feels she can't be honest and upfront about who she is offline. She worries so much about maintaining those online relationships that she sacrifices any sort of intimate or physical relationship to keep things safe and anonymous. Luckily, she hasn't become a total recluse and still interacts with family and older friends, but she used to have no problems meeting people.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
blindsk at 1:20AM, Aug. 12, 2010
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isukun
Actually, you also lose all of the body language and quite frequently, status and tone don't translate without it. Also, as I've stated before, the consequences of what you say are greatly decreased, so you are more free to act outside of your normal character.

True, though everyone does have the potential to put on that mask whether it be over voice or in person. It's just that for me, I find people have more trouble hiding it in their voice than they do gestures. I seem to gather much easier how someone is feeling by simply listening to their voice than looking at them. Take for example the popular mask of shyness/awkward situations by just smiling. Generally I can't really tell how they're feeling until they get a word in. If it's soft, I'll take it as shyness. If they're generally jubilant, than I realize they're all around content. But I could easily guess that by just listening to them over the phone or in my online game.

But before that turns into some offshoot debate, I'm just going to point out that I believe we're speaking from different experiences here. For me, it's rather personal, which is why I feel passionate enough to defend it. I was definitely one of those socially awkward individuals that just kept to myself a while ago. So I moved to online gaming to fill in that gap. Before I knew it, I learned that it wasn't necessarily so bad conversing with other people, getting to know them, and participating in activities with them. This was all done online. Pretty soon, my confidence rose to the point where I could actually socially adapt to real life interaction as well. I could tell the two were different, but the methods I used to get to know someone were generally the same. All learned from that online interaction I used as a substitute for a while.

Now I sort of have two different sides. There's the gamer side in me, with gamer friends and whatnot. Then there's the workplace side of me, where conversations are on a whole different topic. Occasionally though some of my workplace friends do have interest in gaming as well, so there is a bit of a crossover. Either way, it's turned out to be a healthy balance.

And I'll have you know, I would have never pictured something like this happening before I encountered online communities. It was…therapeutic in a way.

I get the feeling you haven't shared such a similar experience in your time online (or observing others). It's true that some never break out of that online shell. But I assure you, not everyone is like this. Quite a few people are able to balance the two. This isn't some sinkhole that facilitates withdrawal from society, loss of moral values, or spontaneous violence, like you hear on the news. So many people try to paint this stuff in a negative light. But I can speak for the generation that, in a sense, grew up with the internet: it's integrated into their lives, not pulling them away from it.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
TheShah at 8:04AM, Sept. 18, 2010
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Again, with most things in society like exposure to rap music, violence on tv/games, etc… it all comes down to the individual.

I use FB + online forums/communities like DD to meet like-minded people with similar interests, have conversations, etc… considering I don't have that many real life friends that are into (web)comics or movies as hardcore as I am, much less creating one.

Social networking is just that, networking to enhance your social life, meet new people from the net, find out about events, keep in touch with friends/family who might not live in the same country, keep others updated on your life– all with the purpose to enhance for social live, not your e-life.

But there are retards who become dependant on it, and use it to replace the face to face human interaction.
I see no point of emailing, FB msg'ing, MSN chatting regularly with people you see on a daily basis.
I can just as easily call them and have a live conversation, than post on their wall, then check back in 2 hours (or on my BB ) for their reply.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:28PM
TheShah at 8:19AM, Sept. 18, 2010
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ozoneocean
I prefer to indicate my sarcasm solely through pheromones…
You use body language for sarcasm? o_O




I prefer to use the wild flailing of my arms for sarcasm; followed by folding them and looking away from the person giving an oppurtunity for my condescendingly sarcastic comments to sink in.

Majority of the times it's the GF and I end up in shit after. :|
Stupid uncontrollable sarcasm.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:28PM
Evil_Hare at 12:12PM, Oct. 14, 2010
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It made me grow a beard and live in the mountains… j/k.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:24PM
itsjustaar at 3:42PM, Dec. 11, 2010
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joined: 12-2-2010
I've made more friends online than I've ever made offline. The more groups you join and the cliques you meet, the more contacts you get and ultimately get to know people with varying interests, makes, and tastes all the same; I must have had at least met, called, or known a good thirty people through interaction in text. Good or bad, compared the usual five hobknobs I knew in school, that's better than nothing.

As I've gotten older though and time wears on though, I've found that I've been more closely attached to those fellas as opposed to say, a guy I used to know in such-and-such class. I dunno. Either they're more interesting or I've found people with similar interests, where in which the people I used to know wouldn't give me the other way around if I told them what I liked or was into at the time.

I don't use Facebook and myspace anymore. Both places bore me, lol. Not too many use it too, much less strike up a good chat.
“Keeping Up with Thursday” - Updated Every 3 Days!
“ZombieToons Must Die” - hiatus. D:
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
RainbowAurora at 12:56AM, May 9, 2011
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joined: 4-16-2011
I feel like sites like Deviant ART and Drunk Duck make me feel like part of a community sometimes. The others, though…?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
OnlyFoolsAndVikings at 10:00PM, May 21, 2011
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Ehhhh… Although social networking allows me to keep in touch with people I don't see a lot of in day to day life, it gets annoying. Friends make plans via facebook, and since I don't live on the itnernet and don't check it that often, I don't get these plans or news until very very late, and it pisses me off that they don't use the good old fashioned phone to make arangements.

Though things like DD do make me feel part of the community, you can interact and help out and meet people I would never get the chance to meet outside of my sheltered little home. Mind you, I do feel wary of it, as I was subject to major stalking via the net once and since then I'm very wary and have to remember that I don't actually “know” the people online, only how they present themselves to the world. It's hard to gauge a person's trustworthiness via a few lines of text, an animated avatar or a wierd user name.

Its easier to meet people with similar interests on the web on places like DD, Deviant etc, I mean, its always good to meet and talk with fellow artists or webcomic enthusists and talk about our interests. I mean, my real life freinds don't really care that I have a webcomic and such, or get sick of it after a while in the case of art, while on artwebsites, there is a whole community dedicated to it.

Its hard to make a decision regarding the topic, its got pros and cons in equal number it seems.
of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most.
EXCUSE ME WHILE I STROKE MY MOUSTACHE IN A SUGGESTIVE MANNER!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:21PM
Ally Haert at 8:26AM, May 26, 2011
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posts: 279
joined: 2-16-2011
It's hard to make the argument that social networking sites are “making us more social”, though I could definantly make a compelling argument that they make us more informed.

Unless you've stumbled upon a bot, you're still talking to a human being.

The argument that they are “acting like another person” online versus offline is a moot point. They are still human and are still themselves.

People act offline all the time. We try and give a certain persona during first impressions that matter to us in real life. We act differently around our immediate family than we do around a group of peers we look up to.

Making a quality statement about online communication doesn't change the fact that it is genuine human to human interaction.

Social is defined as:

1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.
2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.

In a technical sense, online communication meets these base definitions.

I think the real debate lies in whether it is unhealthy to pursue online communication in substitution of offline communication.
“No one can go back to start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending,” Maria Ross.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
tylinn at 1:04AM, June 2, 2011
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joined: 3-10-2011
I thought I'd add my two cents here as I've fallen into both schools fairly naturally.

I've had best friends that I hang out every day with both in-person and purely online.
I've had horrible fights in person and online. Despite what someone said about ignoring people online being easy, it's not. If you know where they hang out, chat, game, blog, etc. You can contact them. Conversely, picking up a phone to call a RL friend can be paralyzingly difficult if you're feuding.
I've had crushes and romances in person and online. In fact, I met the love of my life online, whereas most guys I knew IRL were blech.
I've been deceived in person and online. People say anonymity is easier online, but it's not if you know how to type someone's name in google, or check out their facebook. IRL, all I know about someone is what they tell me, and there are many people with extraordinary abilities to lie very well face-to-face.
I know how to express my emotions and tones both in text and with body language. Both had to be learned.

I think that social interaction can be just as effective online as it is IRL.

However, Social Networking? I do believe that decreases social interaction, be it online or IRL. I started a blog when LiveJournal was big, and no longer got to actually have conversations with people about my day. They already knew it. Equally, things like Twitter and Facebook give me an information overload. Not only do I hear about the interesting things in people's lives, but also the uninteresting things. Then we REALLY have nothing to talk about…

Here's something I noticed, and maybe you can see if this happens to you as well… But I personally feel like you are successfully communicating and interacting with someone when you can jump into a conversation with relative ease. I feel like you're interacting poorly when every single conversation begins with, “So, how have you been?” Even when I update blogs and such, telling all about my every move, the people I'm not truly interacting and socializing with always begin their conversations that way.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM

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