Monday, August 9, 2010

The Internet is not a Community

When social networking sites first appeared on the internet, it was the beginning of the end. Before those days the people who wasted their lives online were restricted to intense nerds and invalids. With the dawning of sites that offered pseudo-communities for the more average, less tech-savvy, individual, more people were sucked into the internet than ever before.

The purpose of these sites is to bring people's profiles together and make money; the problem with these sites is that many people start to live on the internet as if that is somehow their real life. The escalation in these sites led to new sites that offer the same fake communities, only now with webcams. Whether it is gay chat, or muscle chat websites, or places like stickam--who offers strange video chat connections to teenagers--these sites become a fake reality and a fake community for those who use them.

These sites do not bring people together. They give off the appearance of community, and that is what is so dangerous. For example, those using a gay chat site might think that they are helping to build a larger gay community, but they aren't because the online experience is not real--it is talking to a television. Yet, those on these muscle chat sites are actually kept from going out and forming real communities because they think that they are already in one. Social networking sites actually separate people even more than they ever were without them--before they had 1000 friends online.

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