Feb 24, 2010 Comments Off
“The time has come where the distinction between online and offline is not one between ‘fantasy’ and ‘real’ lives. Rather, one can have just as meaningful relationships through online communities as offline based communities. Cyberspace can not only provide solid, trusting communities, but ones which are not constrained by geography.”
I will be arguing against this proposition.
Four arguments against the proposition:
1.) Cyber-communities are hard to trust, if trust can be placed in them at all. People on the internet are not who they are in real life. Some one who is typically shy could be DragonBlade875 on youtube who gets in a heated fight over who is at fault in the video “AC TRANSIT BUS FIGHT I AM A MOTHERFUCKER.” The even worse scenario is that some one you meet online is some sort of predator. The bottom line is that know matter what you think, you just don’t know who it is you’re talking to when your online unless you have met them in person.
2.)Cyber-communities lack regulation and in that way are also dangerous. For example, Second Life is some peoples major source of income. If one was so inclined it would be easy to break buildings, vandalize, etc. Someone that owns a virtual store in Second Life could lose a significant amount of their income if something happened to their store. However, unlike the real world where someone would be subject to punishment due to the law, the lack of regulations could mean that such a crime could go unpunished.
3.)”One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the nonverbal communication”(about.com). The thought that when we communicate over the internet we are losing 93% of the message that would have been sent if we were talking is astonishing. If online communities become more prevalent then we are actually accomplishing the opposite of our goal of “solid, trusting communities.” In actuality, the community could be growing apart as this supposedly open community is actually suffering problems with communication.
4.)I do not mean to imply that online communities can not be rewarding. As I said in an earlier blog posts, I feel that the more you put into a virtual community, the more you get out of it. However, be fore fully immersing yourself in this virtual reality, it is important to note number one, what you are putting your time into, and number two, where this time is coming from. As I have said above cyber-communities can be filled with dangers due to their lack of regulation and how difficult it is really know who you are talking too and what their motives are. Also, it is important to remember the opportunity cost of virtual communities. The more time and effort you put into knowing people online, the less time you have to meet people in real life.
Online people are not judged on their looks and are able to make meaningful connections without the risk of being judged based on their appearance. I would respond that for people who are paranoid or extremely self conscious they may find this to be a better alternative than risk being judged, but it is important to remember the cost of such a choice. Online relationships lack any kind of physical connection and it is this physical connection that cyber-communities greatly underestimate. There is a reason that people shake hands when they meet each other and hug when they say goodbye. That reason is the physical connection we all experience but underestimate. Its like your health. You truly don’t appreciate it until you are sick. No matter what people say, we all want to hold hands, hug, or shake hands. Physical contact is a way we remind ourselves that we are not alone.