The Social Implications of the Internet

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On the show: 06-30-06, Ze discussed online communities, taking issue with a sociologist who said that online communities may be bad for society. This page is for further analysis of the issue, and the proposal of a solution.


The following responses appeared as comments on Ze's the show page:

Forgive, me but I'm afraid I's gotz sum thinkin goings on in the noodlecase. Generally I agree with the things you say - today I disagree on the internet/friends topic (hurrah me! - boo you!) In the merry days of nascent internetting (1990s) there was a widespread feeling amongst its celebrants that the day of "digital community" and new tribal forms of social interaction would soon be nigh (These people also though raving was revolutionary). Soon enough, once a critical # of true believers made the online world truly manifest, huge corporations essentially bought out the internet. What once promised a new world of interconnectivity has become a realm where "communication" consists of product reviews & glib meaningless comments (read up or read down for examples). When this supercedes "real" interaction - that which involves the body (bloodsweatcumtears), we choose remote ease over actual presence and trick ourselves into thinking we are actually involved. The internet IS distance - when everywhere "becomes" here, any "there" outside of our remote access terminal seems to be unnecessary for our purpose - diversion from boredom... I agree that the internet has many possibilities (wikipedia being a fascinating example) and an ideal method for creative dissidents to reach many people at low cost (zefrank) but overwhelmingly, that which is successful, is bought out and co-opted. Example - Fox owns Myspace and every visitor, artist, individual ultimately profits Fox (the media architecture) not the content of contributors as the corporate principle of MAKE THE AUDIENCE WORK FOR US FOR FREE is increasingly applied to all media forms. Breadth replaces depth and we all become connected through wires and screens. We are all becoming cyborgs. Note the extent to which your conversations consist of discussing media. by Vin - 30 Jun 5:18p

Ze, I think you're off base in regards to the internet as an adequate replacement for real life friends. Human beings need personal interaction, and this is something the internet can not provide. This is what the sociologists were saying. Many historians as well believe this has been contributing to the current social climate in America. People in general care less about others than they did 50 years ago. Impersonal interaction breeds self-interested behavior. It always has and it always will. We are further removed from the valuable sources of human companionship. This is a serious problem. by Alex Bonwit - 4:09a

I feel like we're friends....through the internet, and as a one way, rather than two way, connection where I seem to know a bit more about you, than you me. But come on, isn't that satisfying? even just a little bit? Having friends you don't know? wait.....that doesn't sound right...... And I don't have a myspace page, so I can't play the ugly game, HOWEVER, I'll be sending over a little something that I have been working on, and I think that you'll be impressed.....that's what "friends" are for. Have a nice weekend mate. by Cara Lyn - 5:29a

And I sadly agree with Alex Bonwit, the decline in social behavior and decency seem to stem from our ever increasing lack of interaction with real world issues and actual human emotions. is. by Cara Lyn - 5:31a

"Wait, I thought you said close friends now you're talking about people who you discuss important matters with." - wiki haunt! - you got a point there, though religion and politics are something I avoid discussing with close friends and family; they already know where I stand; like if I'm into shorts or skirts this summer. but I love getting into those two topics with online strangers. however, personal life and death situation are something I would never discuss with online "strangers" people. mind your own fucking business there. you know me, but you don't know me that well. certainly you don't want strangers looking into your own fucking business, do you? other than the feds, insurance companies, pharmaceutical, banks and advertisers. by stranger - 11:29a

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