Feb 25, 2010 Comments Off
Pro: There’s no different from online and offline relationships- they’re both face to face.
Opp: Many friendships formed online and formed offline- people still want traditional relationships. Strictly online relationships are not as meaningful. In an online relationship, you always wonder if the other person is not being entirely truthful. Online, you don’t have physical cues like hugging, kissing and presentation, and these all add to relationships. You can’t play around with your friends and feel comfortable being in their presence if you just know them through the computer. It’s hard to successfully create a completely new kind of friendship.
Pro: There are pre-existing methods of communication that are both offline and yet not face to face. There are more subtle ways of expressing identity through text messages and you still know who you’re talking to. Online relationships are purely voluntary, while offline relationships are often due to work and family ties and cannot be abandoned. They can be based purely on mutual interest and allow you to emphasize with someone and connect with them. Trust is something experienced by the individual whether the relationship is online or off. People can make true connections if they are willing. There will always be people that are not completely truthful, but if you sense that the other person is being honest then you will believe them.
Opp: There is not enough evidence that allows you to say that most people will be truthful on the Internet. You can never have a meaningful relationship if you can never fully tell what the other person is trying to say. In real world relationships, a signature on a love letter signifies “remember me.” Online, a username signifies “believe me.” Would you rather receive a love letter or have someone tell you “I love you” in person?
Pro: While many online friendships do feel the need to go offline, they start out as “pure” relationships- they are purely platonic and are not based on sexual tension or desire for intimacy. There is more curiosity, mutual interest, empathy and pure listening instead of thoughts like “I wonder if they just want to get in my pants.” Blind dates are similar to chat rooms- you’re meeting the person for the first time and still have no information about them. They can put on as much of a fake persona as someone online can. Online users know that they can’t show their facial expressions, so they use other techniques to describe their feelings that can be transferred across the Internet. In an online community, all that matters to you is how you perceive the other users.
Opp: You do need to have physical cues to fully experience a relationship. People gives off gestures of discomfort or awkwardness, and without being able to see and sense those you won’t realize how the other person is feeling. It’s harder to put on a fake persona in person because the other person can sense physical and verbal cues that you’re lying. People don’t always pay attention to what they write online- look at YouTube video comments. Skype allows you to get more visual cues, but it’s not mobile. Texting allows you to talk wherever you are, but you have to be in front of a computer and in a quiet, private environment to Skype. The physical connnection is a way to tell someone else that they’re not alone. If you have a great online conversation with someone for 2 hours, you’re still going to log off at some point and leave them all alone.