Psychology of Online Virtual Relationships: My Visit to Cyberspace
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS



 
  • FORUMS 
  • Smart Girl Reviews 
  • CLUBS 
  • Mariah Carey Fan Club 
  • Tommy Hilfiger Fan Club 
  •  LOBBIES 
  •  League of Women Voters 
 
 

 SELECTIONS FOR THE REPORT ON PSYCHOLOGY OF ONLINE VIRTUAL RELATIONSHIPS

The issues that were discussed were many.  One was false identities.  That some, if not all, use false identities when online.  Could this be destructive?  I think that using different identities is fine to a certain extent--as long as you are not hurting or causing harm to others.  But, I'm a firm believer that with every identity that is being portrayed, a little of the "real" identity exists.  In other words, all the different identities make up the "real" one.

How important is physical proximity?  Some say that they prefer face-to-face communication, some say that you can be "touched" online in ways that you can't be physically.  Like a person mentioned in the discussion, "one person's heaven can be another person's hell".  Just as I believe that both nature and nurture shapes an individual, I also believe that both face-to-face and online interactions is best for an individual.  There are some things that are fulfilled physically that can't be done online, and there are things that are fulfilled with words and images that can't be expressed physically.  A little bit of both is best.

One's reaction to a situation can be radically different depending on the expectations.  One person shared that if you go to a club, you expect the people there to be deceiving.  And, when you go to church, you expect the people there to be honest and trustworthy.  Wouldn't it be great if our expectations were always true.  But they're not.  Let's take the church example, there are so many people that are heavily involved in church that are deceitful and break the commandments.  So who can you trust?

How can you verify the intent of someone?  People say not to fully trust someone you meet online.  Why?  Just because you haven't seen them before?  What difference will physical appearance make?  My best friend for 3 years ended up stabbing me in the back (not literally, of course).  Establishing permanent, trusting relationships is difficult.  Putting your trust in someone is a gamble--whether it be someone you meet in person or online.

Lately there are people needing help because they are "caught in the net".  Should we be scared?:)  I have to admit that the internet can be very addicting.  The first time that I discovered the internet, I couldn't get myself away from the computer.  Oh my, then I discovered chat rooms and I was hooked.  I would stay in the room for hours and hours.  But when you have other things to do, your priorities sort of fall into place.  Thank God.:)


 VIRTUAL-COMMUNITIES, VIRTUAL SETTLEMENTS & CYBER-ARCHAEOLOGY: A THEORETICAL OUTLINE (QUENTIN JONES)

What is Mr. Quentin Jones trying to convey to us?  Honestly, I had an extreme difficult time understanding this article.  All the lingo and vocabulary just went way over my head.  Let me try to sum up his article for you, though.  Mr. Jones talks about virtual communities--what it is, how it is formed, and how people socialize within these communities.  But what constitutes a virtual settlement?  Well, you need a certain amount of permanent member who interact and basically communicate with one another.  A new term, cyber-archaeology, is introduced.  Archaeology is the study of humanity's past by scientific analysis of the material remains of cultures.  Mr. Jones incorporates archaeology into the virtual world as well as the real world.  It is amazing that these virtual communities and settlements are thought in terms of archaeology--a new major for students--CYBER-ARCHAEOLOGY.:)

 


CHAT ROOMS

TV Room

This chat room is one that I came across when I searched Yahoo.  I chose this particular room, TV Room, thinking that it would be a fun way to learn things like what shows other people like to watch, what they thought about a certain episode, and who their favorite stars are.  To my disappointment, I didn't get the opportunity to participate in a conversation that dealt with the topics that I mentioned above.  Actually, I don't recall chatting about TV at all.

As soon as I logged onto this chat room someone requested to chat privately with me.  Surprised and thrilled by the quick interest in "precious" (my online nickname), I accepted his/her request to chat.  My first question to this person was..."what is your fave TV show?"  His/her first 3 questions to me were..."age and m/f?, where from?, and do you have a b/f (boyfriend)?"  I soon found out this person was 13/m, from Arkansas, and very much single.

Although I was disappointed in my first experience chatting in a private TV chat room, I remained as a guest in the main room.  I made 3 attempts to strike up talk about interesting TV programs--no response.  My messages were ignored and the members of the room continued conversing about nothing in particular.  This room was made up of 19 people who were bored with nothing better to do (these are their words), just wanting to make small talk with each other, having no interest in talking about TV-related topics at all.

20ish Room

This 20ish Room is another chat room that I stumbled into while searching Yahoo.  I expected this room to be a "find-a-mate" kind of chat room but I was wrong.  There were about 15 people in this room and from my observation, everyone knew each other.  By reading the conversations that were taking place, I realized that the members participate in this chat room on a daily basis.  Whenever a member had to log off, their farewell message was, "see ya' all tomorrow!"  The most anyone said to me was..."hi and welcome, where from?"  I felt a bit rejected.  Now, I wonder--when people say they are going to meet their friends, do they mean they're meeting face-to-face or online?


FORUMS

Smart Girl Reviews

After many minutes browsing through the different forums, I decided on this one; smart girl movie reviews.  Why?  Mainly because of the title, "Smart Girl"--sounds pretty good.  Although the target audience for this forum is teen girls, I thought I would take a look.

To my pleasant surprise, this site was so cute.  The pretty background colors and simplistic, decorative designs seemed perfect to lure girls into this site--it sure worked for me.

This forum is devoted to promoting media either designed for or made by girls and women.  Basically, this website is made by girls, for girls.

At the end of each screen, there are 5 boxes aligned next to one another spelling the word "GIRLS"--each box having one letter

All you have to do is click on the box or letter of your choice.:)


CLUBS

Mariah Carey Fan Club

Considering all the bad hype Mariah Carey has been getting after her divorce, I was curious as to how her fan club was doing as well as what the Mariah Carey Fan Club was like.  There are 6 domains in her site.

From what I saw, I don't think much is happening in this club right now.  If you are a Mariah Carey Fan, check it out--don't expect too much, though.

Tommy Hilfiger Fan Club

Tommy Hilfiger has a fan club? Yes--the Tommy Hilfiger Fan Club.  I was so surprised to find this fan club.  It is rare that a fashion designer, a new-comer at that, has a fan club.  Well, then again, I guess it makes sense since everyone in my generation all over the world owns something from the Tommy collection.

What does his fan club have to offer?  Here are his domains...

So anybody out there who sports around the Tommy wear, check this club out--and maybe join--or just chat with others that love the Tommy line.:)


LOBBIES

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is said to be a non-partisan organization whose basic purposes are...

People who are interested would need to log onto this site in order to find out how to lobby on issues or connect to other leagues.


CONFERENCES

FamilyLife Online

According to the description in the site, this FamilyLife Online service is to provide practical, biblical tools to strengthen and build your marriage and family relationships.  It includes...

They also have a new domain called My Soapbox Online which provides helpful articles that supposedly challenges, trains, and encourages your marriage and parenting.

For those who are interested in this service, please link to their site.  The site will provide you with a brochure, conferencing schedule in select regions (Hawaii included), and you can even listen to radio broadcasts.


MY THOUGHTS & FEELINGS

Leslie Francis, G5

Ms. Francis' report on newsgroups was very informative but also humorous.  I think her report will benefit the newsgroup "newbies" as well as give insight to newsgroup regulars.  I say this because Ms. Francis discusses what you should and should not do in newsgroups (for example, spamming and flaming) and also, how to make yourself feel comfortable and more receptive within newsgroups.  If you take the advice that is given in this report, I am most certain that you will be recognized in the newsgroups of your choice--it worked for me.:)

Asako Shinagawa, G5

Ms. Shinagawa talks about cyberspace and the mind.  In her report, she basically defines cyberspace and virtual reality in lay terms--in other words, so that people like me will not get thrown off by all the cyber-lingo.  She goes on by distinguishing the difference between being a "netizen" and being a "citizen" (her own hypothesis), where "netizen" is your spiritual identity.

Ryan Shintani, G5

Mr. Shintani's report goes along the same lines as Ms. Shinagawa's.  He also defines cyberspace and it's relationship with the human mind and also discusses the difference between virtual reality and "real life".  What separates the virtual & real world apart?  Mr. Shintani says, physical form.


BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

By doing this research on online virtual relationships, I discovered many more places, besides chat rooms, where people can meet and socialize.  Not only could people socialize but they could also get help and support with problems or just acquire information on practically any topic or issue.

How did all this affect me? Well, I have to say that this research and also, reading the reports from the past generations has opened my eyes to new things.  I realize now that there is a whole new world online.  Things that would be difficult or almost impossible to do physically in the "real world" becomes possible when you enter the "cyberworld".  For instance, I could visit places all over the world, talk to people from many different countries using my many different identities:), shop and buy things from several malls, apply for jobs, get some therapy, read some movie reviews, and stop in a cafe to have a ice mochaccino with a celebrity, all in one day.  Now, could I really do that physically?  I DON'T THINK SO.  I love it!!!

What new vision do I have regarding human relationship and culture?  Hmm...I think that we all grow up with values and ideas of things that are based from our culture.  Being human, we tend to think that who we are is supposed to be the norm.  So anyone or anything different from what we are used to is foreign; and to accept anything foreign is difficult.  We discriminate.  What I'm trying to get at is--things are different in cyberspace (or cyberworld, as I like to call it).  I'm not saying that discrimination doesn't exist--it's just that people discriminate for different reasons.  For example, if your message in a newsgroup is not pleasing to another, you get flamed or rejected.  Or if you behave a little cocky in a chat room, you get kicked out.:(

What are my implications for the future?  I am sure that everyone is going to be exposed to cyberspace.  Everyone is going to discover their "other" identity and of course, become a "netizen".  For me, I got by without having a computer.  It was inconvenient but I got by.  I don't think that will be the case anymore.  Just like every household needs a car, now, every household will need a computer.


IN COMPARISON TO OTHERS

I think all my classmates have done an excellent job with their reports.  I believe that as long as we put effort into our work--it is worth commending.  Therefore, I commend everyone.  We all had a jam-packed body (content), a slight difference in approach, and creative presentation that suited our own personal style.


SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

My advise to everyone is...become a "netizen".:)  Don't be scared and just get into the cyberworld.  We all live in a world of restrictions--there is an alternative.  Discover it.  Also, for anyone who is graduating like I am, let me share something with you.  The money is where the computers are.:) Best of luck.
 
 
 

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