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[ # ] Frivolous Journalism & Technology
January 17th, 2007 under Uncategorized

In my previous post, I included another topic I’ve got a pet peeve about. Technology and bad journalism. Today I read another article by the great social communities commentator, Clay Shirky. He’s been following the press regarding Linden Labs, Second Life:

Second Life (abbreviated SL) is an online virtual world provided by Linden Lab which came to international attention in late 2006 and early 2007. Through a client program, users interact with each other through avatars, providing an advanced social network service.

Anyways, seems journalists have gone and extrapolated the numbers and have predicted the end of meatspace and the beginning of the virtual world. I, for one, am as skeptical as Clay Shirky is. He correctly points out that journalists and readers will not get the difference between unique visitors and logins and Linden Labs has until recently, been scarce with numbers.

For me personally, I’ve gotten a healthy skepticism w.r.t online communities. I played off and on in a Counter-Strike community for 4 years and the only friends I had afterwards, were ones I had when I started. IRC/GTalk/Skype/MSN are just no replacements for physical interaction. I kind of realised this when I read this opinion piece last year.

Studies show that most people interested in politics associate nearly exclusively with others who have similar political beliefs. In fact, research by sociologist David Knoke at the University of Minnesota shows that if you know whether a person’s friends are Republicans, Democrats or independents, you can predict with near certainty that person’s political views.

Somehow linked to Many-To-Many site, there was this link (just click on ad to read the piece).

On Google’s social networking service, Orkut, Indians are organizing themselves by caste. (Thanks to DesiPundit for the tip.) There are hundreds, maybe thousands of groups devoted to every caste, subcaste and sub-sub-caste that exists in India’s phenomenally splintered and complex caste system.

It seems to me that despite popular misconception, the internet will not blur the lines between race, colour, creed, etc. It seems the internet will not facilitate new social connections but will just support existing ones. How sad.

Read the Comments

[ # 31 ] Comment from Jane Doe [18 January, 2007, 8:55]

“IRC/GTalk/Skype/MSN are just no replacements for physical interaction.”

I read an article a few weeks ago describing how the advance of communication technology is negatively affecting people’s ability to interact with one another in person.

What they’ve found is that children who use the instant message technology as their primary means of communication with their peers struggle to express themselves without the technology.

Any kind of virtual interaction with friends needs to be balanced with real social interaction. Besides, the same article said that the meaning of at least half of whatever is communicated through typed messages is lost because of the lack of body language to deliver the “unspoken” portion of the message.

If you’re living in the online world where half of what you say is misinterpreted, then how well does one’s online buddies know you anyway?

[ # 32 ] Trackback from Stuff.za.net [1 February, 2007, 17:48]

Can a Virtual life replace your real one?…

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