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Thread: To what extent can online interaction be considered social?

  1. #1 To what extent can online interaction be considered social? 
    Forum Freshman stephenthemay's Avatar
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    I've often heard people say that those who spend most of their time online have no social life or social 'skills'. [For instance, people would say this about a friend who, instead of going out with us, would stay home and play multiplayer online games.] But such claims seem to beg the question that interacting with others online isn't as "real" as face-to-face interaction.

    Yet, if being able to see someone's face and/or hear their voice is required for truly social behavior, then wouldn't the visual and hearing impaired be incapable of social interaction?

    I can see both sides to the argument: Even in text-only, anonymous online communities there exist norms and sanctions that guide behavior. However, the faceless, anonymous nature of these interactions certainly affect one's ability to adopt the perspective of the other.

    Since I am only 23, internet access has been a consistent part of my life since as early as fourth or fifth grade; and I imagine that this has had a significant effect on my ideas on the subject.

    What are your thoughts?


    Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.
    --Galileo Galilei
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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    To what extent can online interaction be considered social?
    Only to the extent that more than one agent is involved.


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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
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    Maybe people scoffed at the first telephones? Phone isn't "real face-to-face" is it? Yet before that, we had written correspondence - enough to fill our evenings without TV or radio entertainment.

    Online interaction can be more thoughtful than phone gabbing, and more responsive than posted letters.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    It is a social interaction, but in a different form. The adaptability of human socialising is revealed by the ease with which the internet, texting, telephone (and letter writing) were embraced by the species. The use of smilies shows that the socialising is not as rich in quality as face to face communicaiton. The diversity of contacts partially offsets this limitation.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    If you play sports with friends your parents dont come running out on the field to tell you to do this and that. Because its socially wrong...

    But if you raid with your guild in World of warcraft they tend to bother you all the time with no respect for the people you interact with.

    Parents are outdated and lack Y2K+ social antennas.
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  7. #6  
    Time Lord
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    Heh, it's true. Replace "parents" though with "TV generation". They understand the computer as a kind of typewriter-TV, which one may quit anytime.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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