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#322309 - 02/16/10 11:11 AM Is the Internet actually distancing us?
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
I'm responding as a new topic to Jeff's comments in "what it means to be alone", because I feel I'm going to divert the thread in there a little. Jeff submitted the idea that the Internet is distancing us socially from each other, and that face-to-face contact is being replaced by screen-to-screen contact. (Hope that's approximately right, Jeff. If it's not, please reply to this and correct me. Thanks.)

I can understand Jeff's viewpoint - the world seems to become less personal with the advent of technology. I'm actually too young to remember cheerful neighors dropping by with pies baked from scratch, or men sitting together on the front porch, enjoying a quiet smoke while the sun goes down. I regret missing out on that kind of neighborly social acceptance. These days I don't know most of my neighbors, don't care to, and run for cover should one ring the doorbell.

I do think there are advantages and disadvantages of an Internet relationship.

Advantages might include:
- not having to worry about how you look
- finding someone to talk to any time of day or night
- learning from people from different societies and cultures
- getting to know someone you wouldn't give a 2nd look at on the street
- feeling distant enough to feel safe enough to reveal your true feelings and self

Disadvantages might include:
- not seeing the other person, which is kind of impersonal
- no reassuring physical contact, like a pat on the shoulder
- no shared experiences, like playing a sport or going to a party together, which probably create better memories
- difficult to help the other person physically, whether it be helping them fix their car or giving them a shoulder on which to cry
- easier to misconstrue and harder to glean emotion from black and white words on a screen

But I do think that the Internet is a good "wading pool" for people who desire close friendships but lack the courage to risk befriending someone face-to-face. I think if people use this medium to learn a few skills on how to develop solid, trusting, emotional connections with others, they will be ready to take the next step and join the others in the "deeper pool".

That's what I'm trying to do. Is anyone else trying this too?

Bobcat

P.S. - credit for this should really go to Jeff.


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#322310 - 02/16/10 11:15 AM I think I put a topic in the wrong place
TheBobcatAgain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 507
Loc: AZ, U.S.A.
I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but I submitted a new topic called "Is the Internet actually distancing us?", but I meant to submit it to all male survivors, and somehow I submitted it to the gay forum.

Is there a way to move it to Male Survivors so everyone can respond?

Bobcat


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#322313 - 02/16/10 12:33 PM Re: I think I put a topic in the wrong place [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
ComicBookGuy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 443
Loc: London, England
The mods will do that with no problem Bobcat, but it depends whether they think it's such a good topic that it goes into Off-Topic instead and then everyone can respond to it.

I'll wait for them to move it before responding, but excellent subject!

_________________________
- CBG

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#322316 - 02/16/10 12:57 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
h.beat,h.break Offline


Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 124
Loc: New York
This is simply a different generation. The telephone diverged just as much social contact when it came out in the 1870's. Besides, there's video and voice chat available for a lot of chat rooms these days.

The teens that talk to me about who they chatted with last night do so because it's something that they are accustomed to. To them chatting is like an extension of the telephone. They still hang out with these people and they meet-up with new people with their current friends. They are very smart about it. More so than most adults who are not used to an online relationship and go to meet people out of a public environment.

Also, words, in any form, hold power to them. Some of us know how powerful certain words are. Even words on a screen like "I love you" or "you are dead to me" hold power to them. These words heighten emotions within us and make us imagine what the person on the other side of the screen must be like. It makes us desire to see the person. Humans were created to be in contact with one another. No evolution of conversation will ever change that. Humanity is filled with men and women wearing veiled slight hopes for intimacy because they desire to be close.

_________________________
Hey, if "black sheep" means you're the only non-douche of the family, take that with some pride.

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#322317 - 02/16/10 01:28 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: TheBobcatAgain]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
what you wrote bobcat really fascinated me and you get full credit bud. you started it. ;-)

no change to your assumption about my earlier post. i would add though that i argue the change has already taken place. i think i'm questioning when and if face2face will even become cool again. right now, i do not have that faith.

Originally Posted By: TheBobcatAgain
...neighors dropping by with pies baked from scratch, or men sitting together on the front porch, enjoying a quiet smoke while the sun goes down. I regret missing out on that kind of neighborly social acceptance. These days I don't know most of my neighbors, don't care to, and run for cover should one ring the doorbell.


you described my childhood neighborhood. :-) just add singsongs under the street lamp with my dad on the accordion, another on ukulele, and another on a sax. today... i wonder if they'd be arrested for disturbing the peace. but that is why these neighbors were our tight knit family - we loved each other and supported "the whole."

i'm not picking on you - i do ask why you do not care to know your neighbors now? me thinks that statement fits the shift i'm talking about and i want to know the root cause.

Originally Posted By: TheBobcatAgain
I do think there are advantages and disadvantages of an Internet relationship.
Advantages might include:
- not having to worry about how you look
- finding someone to talk to any time of day or night
- learning from people from different societies and cultures
- getting to know someone you wouldn't give a 2nd look at on the street
- feeling distant enough to feel safe enough to reveal your true feelings and self


so, here are my questions:
--who cares how you look? (not a trick question either, but i think this question says more about society than you.)
--why can't you call a friend anytime of day or night?
--why wouldn't someone give you a chance on the street? (are they too into themselves, selling their hedgefund shares on the cellphone, or is it back to 'looks'?)
--why is it important to feel distant in order to feel safe?

man, in my view you typed some pretty profound statements and i'm very pleased that you did! it provides some fascinating insight for me, at least. saddens me more than i can say, nonetheless, keep going....

Originally Posted By: TheBobcatAgain

- easier to misconstrue and harder to glean emotion from black and white words on a screen


agree. i'll add 'one sided.' i can be perceived as raging madman online, and yet that perception is only because i use the 'net to scream about injustice and to express my frustration as life grows near to a close. i see no point in expressing my lovable side online -- that is reserved for real life. my lovable side is also what gets me into trouble, and more than once now has left me with the broken heart.

Originally Posted By: TheBobcatAgain
...lack the courage to risk befriending someone face-to-face. I think if people use this medium to learn a few skills on how to develop solid, trusting, emotional connections with others, they will be ready to take the next step and join the others in the "deeper pool".


i'm really lost here bobcat. i do not see at all how any emotional bond can be built online (first) and then transfer that into real life (second).

what courage does it take to say "hi" in person? are we training our children (and adults) to become shut-ins? is that our future? no one can talk with anyone real time unless they are 1,000% sure there is no risk? that new person has been screened three years on facebook; have had their credit checked; are employable, cancer free, but botox is acceptable... etc. etc.

how long does it take to build these skills? how long do you intend to live? how much time is living online taking away from living offline?


_________________________
Jeff

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#322321 - 02/16/10 01:52 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: westchesterguy]
just me Offline


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 194
_________________________
My Story

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#322322 - 02/16/10 02:02 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: just me]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: just me


sure is. although hardly in-depth reporting.

what worries me more is that: "But some new trends, such as online social networking, may help counter the effect, he says..."

that seems to be the new answer - problem solved?

_________________________
Jeff

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#322348 - 02/16/10 08:00 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: westchesterguy]
just me Offline


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 194
Actually I think the current thinking is that it might be just as bad(Facebook). I could send you the whole 24 page study if you'd like.

_________________________
My Story

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#322365 - 02/16/10 10:19 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: westchesterguy]
ComicBookGuy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/09
Posts: 443
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: westchesterguy
I think i'm questioning when and if face2face will even [ever?] become cool again. right now, I do not have that faith.

what courage does it take to say "hi" in person? are we training our children (and adults) to become shut-ins? is that our future? no one can talk with anyone real time unless they are 1,000% sure there is no risk? that new person has been screened three years on facebook; have had their credit checked; are employable, cancer free, but botox is acceptable... etc. etc.

how long does it take to build these skills? how long do you intend to live? how much time is living online taking away from living offline?


Two great points westchester, but what I will remark, is, I can't think of a time when face-to-face communication among an entire group was fashionable if some of them wanted to gossip about others - as a result I think people that do so, ganging up on individuals behind their back in a personal or work setting, they deserve whatever comes back around and cannot expect the target of that gossip to want to engage with the group after that - unless they are equally fake.

I don't know really, King Tut and I didn't really know each other when we met up for a CSA rally last year, I was only less nervous than I would've been at meeting a "new" person off the net, due to illness. He didn't think I came across as reserved which is how I thought I was, so self-perception can be what keeps you shut-in sometimes. Since Steve of Amsosa was also there he pretty much brought everyone out of their shells as co-organiser, so a third party's input can help break the ice among strangers.

Last point about neighbours (though I know you were asking bobcat), during my childhood I had one set of neighbours that are still friends for life today. Up where I live now, sadly that's not the case. If you have rental tenants as neighbours but you own your place, 99% of the time they will not want to know you and from eight years' experience, will go out of their way to cause you trouble. So when the perfect family moves in but they're only renting, you will naturally be on the defensive.

_________________________
- CBG

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#322368 - 02/16/10 10:57 PM Re: Is the Internet actually distancing us? [Re: ComicBookGuy]
Charlie24 Offline


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 562
Bobcat, this is a great topic, you are full of great topics man. Love the thought provoking discussions you bring up.

Yeah I think in a way it has distanced people. But I think there are blessings, both sides having benefits and consequences so to speak.

People are able to communicate at faster rates and get things done, a more global role for that, but in other ways I think it's really seperated people.

As a society we are really plugged in, I'm guilty of this as well. Ipods and computers and wireless internet practically every where you go these days.

People my age and younger and even older are jumping onto the bandwagon of internet life and connections.

Look at Facebook, MySpace, Twitter all these things that are popping up and growing.

In some ways I long for connections with people in person, one of things I like about my classes in college, I'm with other people and at times when I'm lonely I often head over to campus just to be around others. It helps in a way.

Sadly I feel like a lot of these sites just bread narcissism which isn't all that healthy, but so many companies have jumped on the bandwagon.

I finally gave in and got a MySpace, never figured out to how to use it correctly and a Facebook, got severely addicted to that site, just let it run my life and get in the way of everything, really unhealthy.

Maybe it's just part of the new reality. I really don't know.

I try to allow myself to use the internet, but try to limit my time, which I really struggle with and just often I need to get out of my apartment, go for a walk, drive, run to just be moving and out in fresh air.

I really do think and echo the comments that it may be bringing us closer in some ways but really distancing us in so many other ways.

God you are wise group of guys. Love these discussions. Thanks Bobcat.

Charlie.


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