Socializing in the Internet
The Internet, even though it revolutionizes the way people communicate with each other, it could actually be the very cause of many people having an acute case of social defect. Socializing is being rewritten in these last few years, with information going around so easily people are not trying so hard to make human contact, which could be the cause of many people suffering from social defect. Even though it may not be the only cause, it is proven by many research papers that the discovery of “The Internet” is the main tipping point of the modern social trend.
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Internet is actually not made to serve the multiple purpose it serve today, it was actually only made to be a place to store information, and even the idea itself is born for military purpose. The original plan is to spread large numbers of information all over the United States, so even if one center of information is destroyed, the information is not completely gone, or at least just the copy of it is missing. Although the U.S. military is the first instance to come up with the idea, the European or to be more specific the people at France is actually the first instance who successfully executed the idea. From there to the development as of today is another story to tell, but what makes it more than an information highway is something not to be missed.
Information sharing in its simplest form is through the Internet, and it’s called an information highway cause the rate of it is mind numbing. Although the rate is relative to its importance and relevance to what most people are searching for, compared to other media the Internet is the fastest. For example, the news of Michael Jackson’s death is spread across the world in mere second after the news is announced, and of course, it’s supported by the quantity of people spreading it. How fast the Internet share information is not just being upheld by the fact of how easily it is to share it, but also by the fact that the quantity of people sharing it is way far from small and the place to share it, is a plenty is an understatement.
Once upon a time a boy asks a wise man “Which is the most; the fishes, or the stars?” then the wise man answered “The fishes, of course.” “Why?” the boy asks, the wise man answered, “Because no matter how much fish you take it’ll never run out”. As much as there are fish in the sea, there are a lot more places in the Interwebs where people socialize, and that number is increasing day by day just like the fish in the sea. In addition those places are divided into four main categories; forums, chat rooms, blogs, and social websites. One of the oldest place to socialize, and still as strong as it was if not more stronger is the forums, which is the root of everything that’s about socializing in the Internet.
In essence, Internet still serves its original purpose, and that is a place to gather information. Therefore, the Internet is basically a large forum that involves a humungous number of people from all parts of the world gathered in a single place. Almost everything in the Internet is a forum, only the form is different, and the people participating in it is even more so. Most people wouldn’t probably think so, because the Internet have changed so much that it’s simply hard to be called a forum, though essentially it is. An article is also a forum, because of the comments or critiques that it sparked. Even a simple statement could also grow into a forum depending on the respond it received. In short, everything that’s in the internet and receive a response from other people it can already be called a forum, because people are talking about something and discussing it. Forums are not a place for written words anymore, it have evolved to something more.
Forums have evolved since its olden times, from town halls, to written things that are on monitors. Though the form is simple, it have proven to be an effective place where people can; discuss things, give opinions, and coming up with a solution. Moreover, there is no discrimination between the members of the forum, in fact anonymity is encouraged to make people focus on the problem at hand rather than the person who’s providing the voice. Therefore, the biggest change for forums is its clarity, everybody is taking notice, and everybody is listening. Even so, there are times that a statement needs something to make it clearer.
The forums itself is not limited to written words anymore, images are often used to convey the message more clearly or a little more blunt than what’s needed. Because sometimes images convey the message more clearly than words, certain forums caters to its needs and they call it imageboards or forums on steroids. In short, imageboards is a forum that puts a full emphasis on the image posted rather than what’s written, someone can write the greatest story in the world there, but people would probably not give an ass if it doesn’t have the image to support its monstrosity, it is actually better to put a great picture and not write anything about it.
4chan is the greatest example of an imageboards, and at the same time the worst example of a sensible forum. Despite the lack of common ethics (or because of it), many Internet history is made there, even the rules of the internet is born there. Although it sounds crazy, 4chan itself is not a place of common sense, it probably is the place where all the wrong things the Internet have to offer are, and it could actually are where “curiosity [really] killed the cat”. Even though there are many bad things to say about 4chan, there is also a good side to 4chan.
4chan have been actively organizing protest against The Church of Scientology, a cult that cons people for their money. Surprisingly the protest are well organized, there’s not even a single conflict with the official. What’s amazing is they promote healthy protest, where they told all the members to protest on the sidewalk only, even the littlest form of disturbance is not tolerable by members of the protest, and they all actually doing it wearing Guy Fawkes mask. There is another reason to the Guy Fawkes mask other than the impact it brings, and its anonymity. Anonymity is a key ingredient to the whole process, without it, maybe they wouldn’t be what they are today or people would look differently to what they are trying to convey.
Anonymity is something that couldn’t be separated from the modern age forums. Although it’s not an essential part of a forum, it’s embedded in the culture. Moreover, people don’t care who they are talking to, they only care about what the person say. For that reason, the character is not build by how people look anymore, but it is born by how that person contribute his/her opinions to the forum itself. However, when anonymity is not emphasized, where faster, more personal and contact that is more direct is wanted people usually go to chat rooms.
Chatting is like a miniature forum, except it is faster, more personal and more direct than forums, people usually chat with their closest persons, rather than strangers. If forum is a place where people gather to think, then chat rooms is just a place where people just talk or catching-up with the person close to them. The communications in chat rooms are faster because people can get an instant reply, more personal because people choose the person whose participating in it, and it’s more direct because no one can interfere unless they are allowed to.
In its own way, chatting is better, but only at a personal level, and to make a large number of people to voice their opinion needs a lot more effort than what people usually need in a forum. For the reason that each person that they want to talk to have to be available at the same time as they make the chat room. Therefore, even though chatting has its own strong points, it became its own weaknesses at the same time. Then again, what is a problem without a solution, chatting itself has its own kind of forum and they usually call it IRC.
IRC or Internet Relay Chat is probably what people call chatting turned upside down, because the order of interaction is reversed. When in normal chats people usually find the one they want to interact with then make a room, in IRC the room is already prepared then people who wants to voice an opinion enters it. To put it in another way the room is not there just for certain people, but also for the people who wants to participate in it. So IRC is putting less emphasize on the personal aspect and focusing it more on the gathering aspect. Even so, IRC is very traditional and old, and not much people develop it mostly because “why reinvent the wheel?” the system have proven that it works for decades in fact the root of chatting is in the IRC itself.
IRC have existed for decades’ maybe even before the term Internet is widely introduced. The days when messenger software is not even planned computer geeks spend their time chatting in IRC over the internet. Then suddenly a couple of guy thought that why not make it more user friendly, so that more people can use it, and to make it more simple we should put an address to each people rather than just putting a simple username so people can contact each other directly and not interfered by other people. Then e-mail services, messenger software, etc. that supports the chatting protocol comes to life. After that, the history of chatting writes itself as one of the milestones of the modern social trend. After that many things happens in chat rooms, but it’s not always flowers and rainbows.
Chatting is a perfect place for evil-doers to lurk about, many crimes have happened there, mostly that involves kids under age. Nowadays people can’t put trust so easily on the people they chat with, the number of people who can do harm is not small, especially people who eagerly offer to meet in person. Therefore kids are usually a soft target to those predators who god knows what reason kidnap them. Many cases of kidnapping or worse child molestation starts with the children making contact with the criminal and as time goes the child starts to put trust in the criminal that’s when the criminal starts to take its chance to meet and kidnap the child. Surprisingly this happens a lot, more than anyone could’ve imagine, what’s worse is the difficulty of catching the criminal is increased because the lack of identity, witness, and location clarity. Luckily, technologies today have advanced far enough for us to detect the location of the criminal, and there’s even a department dedicated to trapping and catching these kinds of criminals. Even so, it’s still hard to say that it’s completely safe, because the crime happens in numerous numbers, and their technique in disguising themselves is getting better and better. Rests assure it only needs a little common sense to avoid the crimes happening in chats. The development in chatting is not only on the crime side, but also in its interactivity.
As internet connection getting faster and faster, the possibilities expand beyond what people could think of. Now we could not only send text and pictures, we could also send continuous stream of moving pictures, or video is what they call today. With this breakthrough we can see live the person at the other end of the world, and we could actually simulate the whole socializing experience on the internet. Many important meetings are actually done this way, because it is cost effective and less hassle than meeting in person. Even though, it’s available, people mostly still prefer chatting, simply because it needs way less resource than video chatting.
Even if video chatting is grand and all, it has its own disadvantage. If someone wants to have a video chat, the other person must have a webcam or some sort of contraption that can record a video, if not then it’s impossible to establish it. Besides that it needs a fast internet connection for the experience to go smoothly, so if you have a slow connection might as well not do it. Although, it needs plenty of resource, people still go through miles for it, simply for the experience. For those reason people still prefer chatting than video chatting because it’s simple and straightforward. But if someone wants to express themselves better, chat room is not the place, they usually use what they call a blog.
Blog is what people call the modern diary minus the privacy, more or less a journal. People usually makes blog to express their inner feelings, whether it’s sadness, happiness, or just a little something in between. Blogs ranges from talking about casual daily lives, to topics that baffle the minds. People even use it to store their precious moments by writing it in their blog, or maybe they want the world to know about their wonderful experience. Therefore, blog are places where people can express everything you want, but don’t be surprised if there’s a response from other people.
Many people actually hope for their blog to get a response, in a way they want attention. By putting their views on the internet, they are shouting in a big open field filled with many people crossing from many places around the world, hoping that they would get a response. Heaps of people would probably ignore it, but peoples that share the same interest in their views would probably willingly listen to what they say, and with pleasure provide support, question or constructive criticism as to what they write about. However not all response are positive, there are usually people who simply like to spam, or vent their frustration to what other people say.
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Negative response, is usually initiated by a different view as to what the writer says, and what actually makes it negative and not constructive is the fact that they can’t give enough reason to oppose the idea. In addition, most of it is because they simply want attention and want to disturb other people. Another form of negative response is when they promote their own blog senselessly without even contributing any plausible response whatsoever. But what’s dangerous is when negative response gives birth to flame wars.
Flame wars is when two or more people are trying argue as to what they think is right, or people usually call it an unhealthy debate. Even though a flame war usually happens in forums, it could actually happen in blogs as well, often at that. This war is usually born when someone propose one thing is better than another, and people starts to support it and other simply not agree with it. As a result, people are trying to prove their argument, and mostly with little vocab held back. Despite that flame wars could actually have positive result, because we can get more information from the facts that they provide while they are arguing. Although blogs are usually a place to lament, its functionality has actually gone beyond that what people might think of.
Blogs have many functions in this modern age such as, money maker, news source, reviews, just to name a few. These functions show that blogs have limitless possibilities, and its function depends on what the owner desire. In fact, not many people use blogs for diary anymore, people usually use it for something else. There are many reasons as to why people start doing this, and one of it is about the thing that makes the world go round.
Because people can get money out of blogs, not small numbers of people thought to stereotype their blog for the masses, so it can get more popularity that equals to more income. In addition, it’s also one of the reasons why many people are making one. Even though, it’s hard to make any amount of money that’s worthwhile to spend on, people are still trying to venture in this business, since it doesn’t need too much effort and resources to start with. There are many blogs that is successful and making an amazing amount of money with their blog, not only that their large income is huge, their fame rose as their income skyrocketed.
Fame is not exclusive to the real world only, but it’s also available in the internet. Many stars are born from the internet, and some of them enter the TV business, like Perez Hilton, and Danny Choo. These peoples, who are famous, usually offer exclusive content that are not available at any other blog. Therefore, many people always come back to their blog, and the people who don’t know their blog will know because their names echo through the internet. Surprisingly, the source of their income is the same as those TV companies, and it is advertisement.
Advertisements on the Internet are spawning like a colony of ants that found a whole heap of sugar. There is almost not a single page on the internet that doesn’t have any advertisements whatsoever, not only blogs, many websites are supported by advertisements that are shown there. Sometimes there is website that has too many advertisements that it got to the point where it’s not worth it anymore to go there. Various ways are made to force the user to see the advertisements, and sometimes the user fights back with an ad-blocker they install on their browser. However some websites didn’t allow the usage of such stuff, by blocking the user to their content if they install an ad-blocker. But no matter how much advertisements people put it is useless if there is no one that visit their blog, that’s why there are many services that offer popularity.
These services that offer popularity, is usually a website that ranks blog and list them, there is also a website that aggregate links that are usually focused on a specific genre or field, and blogs could also provide these kind of services. Blogs provide the service by sharing their link with one another, by doing that they are making a vast network that connects to one another. People usually use this method because it needs little effort than other method, though it’s not highly effective, at least it brings some more traffic. While the other method takes a little more effort, it brings more traffic than sharing links with other blogs, like ranks blog and list them.
Websites that rank blog and list them are usually a good place to start popularizing a blog, because they provide an easier way for other user to find your blog. But it needs more effort on the blog owner side, they need to register to the website that provide the service, and it’s usually followed with a certain catch or qualification that needs to be fulfilled before the blog is accepted to be listed at their website. Although, the qualification are not that intricate to fulfill as websites that aggregate links.
Aggregate means a collection or a cumulative of something, so links are being collected and shown, and these websites are usually split between genre or field. The qualifications to these websites are usually more intricate than the ones that ranks and list blog. However they usually share one common qualifications and that is the maturity of a blog, how much post have that blog post, or how long have it been standing. These qualifications are strongly upheld to sustain the quality of the links there. Without those qualifications some random links would just enter, even the ones that’s not related to the website, and people will start to rarely go there because the quality of the links available there. What’s amazing is these websites automatically post the link of the new post with the same time as when the owner posts its recent post. As a result, what people get at those websites are near live update of the blogs that are registered at that site, with that people can rest assure that they get the latest from their favorite blogs, and the blog owners can relax that their blog are shown with each new post. Links are not the only thing that aggregate on the internet, but people also.
People that don’t know; facebook, friendster, and websites that are alike to those, are probably living under a rock. These websites are the craze of the modern age, and probably one of the biggest tipping points in the modern social trend. Social websites is what they usually call it, websites like these offer the best in social interactivity over the internet. In addition, people can stay in touch with their dearest friends, even though they are miles away or on the other side of the world. However, their interaction is not limited to the people they know in the real world, but they also interact with the people they just know over the internet.
Social websites expand the world of many or opening the door to a whole new universe to countless people. Gone are the days where people’s social connections are limited to the place where they live or where they have gone to, it’s only limited to how far people are willing to go to find the person they are looking for. As a result, people are interacting at an amazing speed, and socializing on steroid is an understatement. Social interactivity is highly different in social websites, people interact like they do in real life minus the face-to-face, but plus the media interactivity.
Media interactivity is enhanced greatly in social websites, in fact it maybe one of the advantage that it have contrast to other form of socializing in the internet. People can share things more easily in these websites, though they mostly share it with the people they know. They can even share a live update about their daily lives if they want to, and everything that you change or input to, can have a comment, even the most absurd thing.
Socializing is all about interactivity or response, and that is what social websites is, it’s a place where people can positively expect a response from someone you know. People usually comment on photos that capture a special moment, a video that makes them laugh their ass off, or the sudden change in marital status. To comment on everything is not a taboo anymore, in fact it’s a culture that just appear naturally on the scene. But all this interactivity sometimes makes people forget that real life actually exists.
Shut-in are people that somehow don’t care about the real world that much, they completely replace reality with everything virtual, it’s like they completely move their mind somewhere else. Since socializing itself is changing, people’s habits are too. Things like going outside are a taboo for them, and socializing in real life is somewhat something impossible to do. People like these usually shut themselves in their room, and utilize their internet connection to their fullest potential. However, people like this can be considered a hero in the internet with their contribution to the community it’s in.
Heroes in the internet world can actually be a loser in the world, because their focus lays too much on the things available in the internet. This reason, cause delusion to many people who have set their heart on the internet, they abandon their life completely for their own selfish reason. In addition, they can’t differentiate between something that is real and something that is not. Their image of reality is distorted in such a way that they are afraid of what’s to come in reality. In the end, everything that’s good always has a dark side to it.
In conclusion, though the modern social trend is a breakthrough out of the old socializing method, and brings many benefit and conveniences to a lot of people, it also brings numerous negative effects. Therefore, any technologies no matter how ideal it is, will always show the bad in people if they are used recklessly or for terrible purpose. However only at these kinds of times that people are starting to show what’s been hiding in them, either it’s the good or the bad, people could only hope for the best.
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