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The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
05-10-2007, 02:53 PM
Post: #1
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?

So, once upon a time there was no internet. Shocking eh?

A long time before that, there was no computers at all. People used to mix socially, in groups of two or more people, quite often, all together in the same room!!! They might eat a meal together, go to the pub together, stand around a piano and sing together (that's just weird, and in no way should be classed as "entertainment") and the like.

Ok, so I know that stuff still goes on, but how many of you nowadays actually know your neighbours surnames? How many know their first names?

Last night, I learned that a good online friend that I met had died about a month ago. I had realised she had gone missing, and the longer she was absent the more concerned I got but I didn`t really know anyone else she knew to ask about her whereabouts. Eventually a mutal friend appeared and I mentioned her absence, she did some research and found out that she had died of a heart attack about a month ago, aged only 33.

Part of me almost suspected this, but part of me was quite shocked regardless.
I wasn`t upset to the point of crying, but I was quite upset and I spent the rest of the evening thinking about her quite a lot.

Now, some of you are probably going "you sad sack" and that`s fine, I can dig that, but a lot of people that you meet online you do become friends with and can become quite close without ever having met up. But I have found myself questioning the reality of mourning a persona, or an online identity, and caring about a stranger in the same way as people used to care about their neighbours and more local friends.

Once upon a time, you relied on your local community for support in a crisis, nowadays, you're just as likely to turn to your online friends. Is it because it`s easier to find like minded people when you have a much greater group to choose from? Or is it contributing to the breakdown in society when everyone is so remote from the people they live in and amongst, whereas they connect better with those that they share the world wide web with?

I dont know. What I do know, is that whilst its easy to dismiss the internet community as a bunch of "saddos with no lives" (mostly by people who do not understand or wish to join in with the world of the internet) they can also be the most warm and supportive community of people you would ever wish to meet.

What do you think?
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05-10-2007, 03:09 PM
Post: #2
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
Wha ? ? ? ?


Get over it saddo!




Actshoealley


Another forum I go to (Yes, there is another forum out there) had a couple of reasons to debate all this.

On one occassion a chap was shot dead - turned out to be several shots and by his wife who had been laying in wait
He was really popular and everyone was shocked and saying how they'd miss him and the place wont be the same.
Until the truth came out
Turns out he was a VERY nasty piece of work and I think he got off lightly
But people still talk about him

Another was more recently and was a guy who had lost 4 of his 6 kids in a car accident.
Different emotions this time. some were really upset for him while others were, well, we don't know him so whats to say. sh^t happens, move on nothing to see
Difference was that chap 2 was just an ordinary bloke/low poster while the nasty one was a charmer & heart and soul type chap


I think it's a case of yes there is a community in cbyerspace and emotions are still the same as in the real world as we are afterall dealing with real people. I think the difference is the tangible connectivity of face to face interaction. Now if all of us did web-cams etc things might be different.

BTW - did you hear that Figs' fish died - should we mourn like some did for Coasties rats?

Nah....Figs is a heartless witch

The ironic thing about life is that no one gets out alive...Huh
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05-10-2007, 03:36 PM
Post: #3
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
think this is a brilliant thread which probably won't get the attention it deserves on this forum.

I suppose I think it is "brilliant thread" because many of the point you have raised, I have pondered myself. Many of the underlying questions you have asked, I have asked myself.

The thing that struck me most about your post was......if you had known your online friend in real life, it would not have been a month before you discovered that she had died because someone would have invited you to the funeral. But, because you were an online contact, your friend had no record of you outside her PC. Your name, address and contact details were not in her address book, or on her mobile phone. That is the nature of online friends - they aren't exactly kept secret, but they are confined to the computer and kept aside from the rest of your life. Your Real Life, if you like.

Your raise the point about internet communities, but you intermingle it with internet friendships, and I think they are different subjects.

Internet communities do not take the place of real life communities. Real life communities are in decline, but those that exist are richer and more intimate than anything you could ever experience online - people don't just know the names of their neighbours, they know the names of their neighbours parents and children! But, these days most people live in an urban sprawl where they don't know the names of their neighbours etc. But I think the online 'community' is more like the urban sprawl. How many of your fellow online community posters do you really know? Do you even know all of the real names of the posters in your online community. Much less their surnames? Or their parents or kids names.

Online friendships though are another thing. I have some good real life friendships, and I have made some good friends online. But, the difference between online friendships and real life friendships is that the online version is easier and less complex.

I have some real life friendships that are richer because of the years. They have been cultivated over time (more than half my life in some cases) and I have no doubt whatsoever that those people and their families will be at my funeral should they outlive me. These are people who have seen me growing up. They have seen me in my highs and, more importantly, in my lows and are still here. We have fallen out, come together. Drifted apart and drifted back again.

Online friendships however are accelerated. You can get intimate with an online buddy far quicker than a real life friend. There is one person on this forum that knows something about my life that only my best friend (from aged four) and my mother knows! It's something that I would never dream of advertising.

But the ease of online friendships has a downside - because they are so accessible, they are much more dispensable. With my real life friends I have invested years of my life in them. I have shared memories and shared experiences. There have been times where I have swallowed humble pie to keep the friendship intact (a hard task for someone as proud as myself).

But an online friend only has online memories and experiences to share, and if an online friend really p1ssed me off I doubt I'd have the same incentive to make sacrifices to keep their friendship. Friends that are easily won are easily lost.

I agree that online forums can produce warmth and comfort and with the decline of the 'community', an online community can offer much needed support in many forms. But, it wil never be a replacement for a real community and online friendships will never be a replacement for real life friendships. However, online friendships can - and do- spill over into to real live friendships where the online seed can grow into something really worth having.
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06-10-2007, 05:47 PM
Post: #4
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
Sad innit? that people don't know, don't speak to their neighbours. Often heard in on here - 'no idea who my neighbours are'. Yet there you are spilling out all your details to people you never even met.

Mayb it's like the confessional - easier to bare your soul to someone whose face you can't see.

That neighbour thing though - I knew my neighbours, got on with them, wherever I lived. Seemed the most natural thing. You can help each other out. How sterile a life is that not knowing who lives next to you. Or hating them?

Shut yourself in the house, an Englishman's home is his castle, then go online and cosy up to your pretend friends who you can instantly pull the plug on when you've had enough of them.

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07-10-2007, 04:00 PM
Post: #5
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
survivorfan Wrote:Sad innit? that people don't know, don't speak to their neighbours. Often heard in on here - 'no idea who my neighbours are'. Yet there you are spilling out all your details to people you never even met.

Mayb it's like the confessional - easier to bare your soul to someone whose face you can't see.

Sometimes it is easier to reveal things online than it is to reveal them in real life. I'm not a great one for spilling my woes (either here or in RL), but when my father got seriously ill, I did find it easier to bang on about it here than I did with the people in my real life, although obviously they knew about it. I didn't want sympathy as such, I just wanted to offload, and I did find it easier to do that online than bore my friends in RL.

survivorfan Wrote:That neighbour thing though - I knew my neighbours, got on with them, wherever I lived. Seemed the most natural thing. You can help each other out. How sterile a life is that not knowing who lives next to you. Or hating them?

Well, I agree. And like you, I do know my neighbours and some of them are people I would count as friends. But that's in the present, living where I do now in a small town on a street full of houses. That sort of environment is conducive to community life. But the urban sprawl just isn't. When I lived in my first flat in South London - on a road full of other flats - I knew nobody on my street apart from the two lads that lived downstairs.

I was brought up in Streatham and when I was a kid, everyone on the street knew everyone else. But by the time my parents left that house 10 years ago, they didn't know anyone on the street. Their old neighbours had moved on, or died, and their properties were bought by developers, split up into flats and either rented or sold to transitory people who had no interest in developing relationships. It's a common theme in large Cities these days, but it completely crushes any sense of community.

It is a sterile existence, but not everyone can live in a little village in Sussex or a hamlet in Kent.

survivorfan Wrote:Shut yourself in the house, an Englishman's home is his castle, then go online and cosy up to your pretend friends who you can instantly pull the plug on when you've had enough of them.

That's a little subjective. I'm sure that plenty of people don't regard their online friends as being "pretend".
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07-10-2007, 05:46 PM
Post: #6
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
THe thing about other people online is that you have to flesh them out to make them real, and to do that you have to bestow them with all sorts of characteristics which ultmately are your own - they come from you.

Although that probably happens with friends neighbours etc too (real people in the flesh) they do at least present a more solid reality.

With online communities you have an instant thing in common - you're all on the same website together so that's broken the ice before you even start.

With real life people you have to work harder. So you could say it's less effort to communicate online.

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12-10-2007, 08:13 PM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2007 08:18 PM by survivorfan.)
Post: #7
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
I suppose the fact is that these things will die sooner or later. There was a time when it was a novelty, a new way of interacting. True it is still popular, but now as more of a ladies' coffee morning than anything else, which has overtaken, eclipsed, anything else it was or might have been.. Will it continue, or will even that die out? I suppose it depends on how much energy the ladies in question have and their desire to talk, the fear is it might be like a perpetuum mobile and go on forever - like a bad dream?

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13-10-2007, 03:00 PM
Post: #8
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
survivorfan Wrote:I suppose it depends on how much energy the ladies in question have and their desire to talk, the fear is it might be like a perpetuum mobile and go on forever - like a bad dream?

Not saying I'm a lady, or even one in question, but by god I have energy and the desire to talk so welcome to your worst nightmare...

bam bam
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14-10-2007, 07:07 AM
Post: #9
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
Tigereye Wrote:welcome to your worst nightmare...

Hi!





.

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14-10-2007, 07:52 PM
Post: #10
The Internet - Is It The New "Neighbourhood"?
howzitgoin'.

Fancy a coffee and some harmless chit chat?

I've got biscuits.

bam bam
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