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I have LOTS of friends. On-line...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Psychodyne, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Psychodyne

    Psychodyne
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    I was reading an article today that claimed women are embracing online communities more so than men. These results are apparently the opposite of a 2007 study.

    Story here, if you can't/won't access it from the site:
    NEW YORK - In a sharp reversal, more young women are now embracing online communities than their male counterparts, a new study says.

    By contrast, men are showing some signs of "networking fatigue," with fewer men saying that their online communities are as important as their offline equivalents.

    The shift in attitudes between the two sexes has taken place over just a couple of years.

    Researchers at the University of Southern California are reporting this week that 67 percent of women under 40 said they feel as strongly about their Internet communities as their offline ones, while only 38 percent of men said the same.

    In 2007, the numbers were just the reverse, with 69 percent of the men and 35 percent of the women feeling that way.

    Internet communities don't just mean social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, but include online gathering sites focused on hobbies, politics or spirituality.

    Michael Gilbert, senior fellow at USC's Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, said women tend to adopt new technologies more slowly than men, but once they do, they catch up and often surpass men in their enthusiasm.

    Men made up the bulk of the shoppers who lined up Saturday to get their hands on Apple's new iPad in many cities including Seattle and New York, but that doesn't mean that gender disparity is permanent.

    Gilbert said women are finding deeper connections to Web communities because many of them go there for social reasons rather than to find information about hobbies, for example. Men, especially those from 25 to 39, are disengaging from social networks.

    "The infatuation is over," he said.

    In 2005, 77 percent of men under 40 said their online community was "extremely important." That number has now dropped to 39 percent.

    The latest findings are part of the Annenberg Center's decade-long study of 2,000 families and their digital habits. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
    Focus: What's your story? How important are online communities (like TiB) to you?

    Alt. Focus: Discuss what you think people gain or lose through being involved in online communities.

    Focus: I enjoy this place, because I find it entertaining. It gives me something to do while I'm at work or bored. I've had many PM conversations with many people, but I don't feel the need to post much, as I often don't feel I have anything worthwhile/original to add, or I simply don't feel like sharing. I've met exactly one person off this board face to face, and they were cool, however, that's not something I'd make a practice out of, as I have enough friends in real life. As a whole, online communities are fairly unimportant to me, but they can provide decent entertainment.

    Alt. Focus: The gains in my mind are strictly entertainment and knowledge. There are funny people here, and there are knowledgeable people here. You can hear many different viewpoints on many topics, and discuss your own views. The losses, I believe, are social losses. Pm'ing, taking on the phone, etc. is not a substitute for meeting people. The fantasy land/persona people can create here can be detrimental to their normal, actual, real-life lives. If you spend more time on the board than you do hanging out with actual friends, you might want to consider tweaking your social life. There's no substitute for real life as far as I'm concerned.
     
  2. Dcc001

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    I agree with Chater that online communities are a compliment to your social life, rather than vying for competition amongst the 'real' people that you know. Online communities like this allow for an aspect of friendship that you otherwise wouldn't have access to. In life, conversations tend to be about a shared experience or what is happening currently withing the group. In this place, the only shared experience we have are the subjects presented to us in the thread topics. I don't know about anyone here, but if I went up to one of my friends and said to them, "Look, I'd like to discuss healthcare reform - and ONLY healthcare reform - for the next hour. Go." I probably wouldn't get the response I was after.

    Additionally, a well-run place can teach you how to focus your arguments, be concise and learn how to present your views in a way that communicates them effectively to a broad spectrum of people. Can't really do that with your friends as you all sit on the couch watching football or Dancing with the Stars.

    I've met a fair number of people from this board (comparatively speaking, I suppose), both in 'real life' and in other social media (Skype, msn, Facebook, etc.). The problem I run into, at least in my own mind, is how to explain to others how I met them. Saying something short like "I met him/her online" gives the appearance that you're trolling a dating site - for some reason, I have a prejudice associated with those places - or that you've risked your life by making contact with a complete stranger. I disagree. I think in a context like this it would be much harder to lie about who you are. You'd have to be an exceptionally good writer, one who not only knew how to write as someone else but also knew yourself well enough to hide any clues that might give away who you really are. If someone posts a great deal you get a much better sense of who they are than if you'd met them at a pub or at work or some 'real' place.

    I guess the questions I'd like to pose to the board are:
    - How do you tell people about a place like this? Do you mind that, to a certain extent, there is still a stigma associated with online contact amongst strangers?
    - How do you refer to other board members? I find myself occassionally talking to a friend about a thread topic and wanting to mention someone else's point. Do you say, "My friend and I were just talking about this..."?

    A good additional alt. focus might be to talk about any experiences you've had from meeting someone face-to-face that you initially met online, but that's Chater's call.
     
  3. Primer

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    I enjoy forums like this because it's a different venue than what I might get in real life. Things are focused on events or ideas, rather than a face to face forum which has a tenancy to stray into other things quickly. I'm also able to let go a little more and let out some of my more inner demons that I wouldn't normally show in a real life setting.

    I just say "from the internets" or "on a forum I've been reading". I've got a few people here on facebook and other than my brother, I've only met one other person in real life from here. My friends don't pry into things unless I'm really open about whatever it is I'm doing, so I don't ever need to say that I'm meeting someone off the internet. The one person, who shall be nameless unless they tell me otherwise, was really cool and I enjoyed the experience immensely. It was interesting as they had a vastly different view on life than I did and we ended up talking for quite a few hours.

    Does the internet replace real life for me? Not a chance. I went through a phase when I was younger where I could sit at a computer for hours upon hours but those days are long gone. I would rather do any one of a number of things than sit inside, especially on a warm summer day, and read Reddit or TiB.

    Sorry gang, it's not you, it's me.
     
  4. Rob4Broncos

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    I think the stigma exists because meeting people online, strictly speaking, is unnatural. As humans, we're wired not to trust what we can't see/feel/experience up close. Online interaction feels synthetic, as if we're not truly interacting with that person. Additionally, we place much more importance on body language and tone vs. words, and those elements are lost in an online encounter.
     
  5. jennitalia

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    Hey, that was me! Yep, I'd say our experience meeting up was a good one, mostly because both of us are normal people. Primer is the only one I've actually met, but I've talked to a few other people off of here through Skype and MSN.

    I enjoy coming on here sporadically throughout the day to give me a small dose of interaction with people who are not an eight or four year old child.
     
  6. ssycko

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    I always get somewhat awkward looks from people whenever I mention "a friend online brought up" because yes, there is a stigma. It seems that the whole "nerds only have internet friends because they can't get any real ones" idea that's perpetuated in just about every form of media sunk in, but it's becoming less and less prevalent.

    I just wish there was an easier way to explain it. "A friend and I were talking..." "Oh, who?" "er...you don't know them."
     
  7. Guy Fawkes

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    I like the varied topics, interesting banter, and above all the cross section of people that exist on this board. It keeps things interesting and lively. The added bonus is that this place self polices for the most part and trolls don't last long. Before joining the RMMB I was involved primarily two types of discussion boards. Specific automotive forums and some advertising/marketing forums. Both served a very exclusive focus though one of the automotive boards was similar to this place where everything was discussed.

    This place compliments my lifestyle quite well. I travel a lot for work and detest talking on the phone. If I want to involve myself in some social discourse I can call or text my friends or preferably join a discussion on here. My real life friends are cut from the same cloth as me for the most part so we rarely debate sports, automotive stuff, or any of the issues where a stance can be taken. Plus I don't consider my real life friends as nearly well read or well versed in the various topics this place churns out. I get better conversations, ideas, and debates out of TiB than I would sitting around and shooting the shit at the pub with my buddies. Still when Friday night rolls around I'd rather be watching the game and drinking a few beers with them than sitting online.

    I've met about a half dozen or so people from the board and haven't woke up missing a kidney or locked in a basement... yet.
     
  8. effinshenanigans

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    "The topic came up on a messageboard I post on throughout the day."

    That's what I say. Most of my friends are involved in other messageboards already (cars, tech, politics, etc.) so it isn't anything out of the ordinary when it's brought up in conversation. When I mention it to the girlfriend, there's less understanding. "You mean that Idiot Board?" She says "idiot" with such a scathing conviction that it's just a bunch of retards laughing at dirty jokes and looking for pictures of tits. What she doesn't understand is that, while a part of it is that, there's also some funny and smart people here that I generally agree with and enjoy talking to.

    I tried to explain that to her once, but halfway through I realized that I didn't want her to understand or even come to like the idea of this place. This is my place; my little boozeless bar that I go to during work to laugh a little bit with good people, and then go home.

    As far as the "friends" thing is concerned, it's tough to consider any group of people friends when you're shrouded in near-complete anonymity. Though, that said, any of you who have paid attention to the things I've posted know more about me than a number of people I hang out with because of that. I think maybe only two or three people I currently hang out with know about the time I shit my pants in 6th grade. Same goes for my real feelings about my parent's divorce. Not even my girlfriend knows the whole story there. This place is cathartic in that way. There's an odd comfort when you're among stangers who could essentially not care one way or the other about what happens in your life but allow you to dump it all out there anyway. It's even more comforting when, in times of trouble, they offer support.
     
  9. Beefy Phil

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    I don't. My friends know I have posted on a messageboard, but they don't know which one or how frequently, and I prefer it that way. Conversely, I don't really talk about my personal life here. I don't see the need. I'm not here for emotional support or serious life advice. I'm here to talk about books, film, television, current events, and my poop. I also get to test out material on a discerning audience for free. Green dots means something will probably work. Red dots means it probably won't. This place is an invaluable resource on so many levels.

    I don't mean to imply that I'm not fond of some of you. On the contrary, I value some posters' opinions about certain topics more than most real-life people I know. I just prefer to e-know those people rather than know-know them.
     
  10. Parker

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    I found the RMMB through the Tucker days after reading his book. My involvement in this forum is solely based on my job being extremely boring and having quite a bit of downtime. I refrain from using my computer at home to talk to people, because I'm on it all day at work. That being said, I probably won't be posting in a few weeks because my new job is at an ad agency which could simply be described as controlled and perfect chaos.

    With that said, I've read a ton of funny stories, found links to sites I religiously check like FML, TFLN, LATFH and on and on and on. There certainly some characters on this board I wouldn't mind having a beer with to talk about random shit. I just never see myself entertaining the idea of arranging the meet-up. The odd thing is, I'd be more open to meeting a guy, then a girl, because going down the far-fetched road of us dating or anything, explaining that to my family and friends would be a shitstorm; even though my brother has done nothing but meet girls online through questionable chatrooms, I just have different expectations of me.


    AF2: I usually and most of the time say when discussing a topic, usually from the TV show threads, I'll simply say "This guy/gal I know said" and go from there. People usually won't dig from that.
     
  11. Virty

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    I can't imagine this was like my dream when I was 13, a bunch of chicks hanging out online instead of a bunch of nerdy guys? Awesome.

    FOCUS: I started out as a kid playing a lot of Everquest. That game was crack to me, I spent so much time playing that game it was my life. Switched to world of warcraft after Everquest became obsolete. However in my completely awkward teenage years I found the TMMB. I have honestly been reading and lurking since 2004. But when RMMB closed I too felt like I lost something. My interest in the forums waned in and out, but it was still something I checked a few times a month. I finally grew some balls and decided to stop lurking, recently. But you'll notice I signed up the day these forums opened.
     
  12. thevoice

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    Focus: What's your story? How important are online communities (like TiB) to you?

    I (like Chater) felt great disappointment when I learned that RMMB had closed down. Admittedly I was a newer member (I joined in November, 2008) but I still felt like I had discovered a place that was unique, fun and private from my regular life. When it was taken away from me I was choked.

    I think it's cool that I can go play football, call a hockey game, and socialize with my friends yet still have a place online to call my own that they don't know about.

    I love TiB because it provides me with an opportunity to share some stories from my past which I would have otherwise most likely forgotten about had it not been for some 'crafty' thread idea forcing me to remember.

    It hasn't all been roses though. 2009 was easily the toughest year of my life for many reasons that I won't spent too much time on here - But the information, support and cheering up that I received here was astounding - Especially in the summer when my girlfriend was battling a severe case of anxiety and depression. The PM's and support that I received from 'strangers' on RMMB meant more to me than I could even begin to explain. I remain grateful to this day, and I'm pleased to say that my relationship is still going strong.

    On a less serious level, TIB is great for 'down time' at the office. I'm just pissed that our internet guardian prevents me from posting on more threads at work. The bad language commonly used in the Rant and Rave thread often sets up our guardian and I have to wait until I'm at home to post there.
     
  13. shegirl

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    I'm agree with Phils take for the most part. I've been around 5+ years now on the TMMB/RMMB and now TiB. I PM semi frequently with some of you and not at all with many.

    Obviously I get much out of the interactions here. This place is an information highway because we share opinions (some educated and some definitely not). I take away that, intelligence and humor. I get information here I simply cannot find elsewhere because we come from all different corners of the world. That can't be replaced.

    I have many very close friends that I love and they return that. It's them I turn to in times of need. There was a time long ago, on the former, when I lived there. I was online all the time, PMing, emailing or whatever. I was online at home, at night and even on the weekends. This continued until a mod pulled me aside and told me to step back. He went on to say that is was not a replacement for a social life and that I was far too involved in the forum. He was right so I did exactly what he said. I stopped posting for a few months, I wasn't on from anywhere but work, like I do now M-F. It took him telling me what he did to wake me up and make me realize I was living my life via the board/members.

    Oversharing too much personal stuff is a slippery slope in my opinion but I'm a very guarded person in general because of my past (bad ex out there somewhere). I think the more personal things you share the more you begin to substitute it for a real social life because you get drawn in, drawn into how your e-"friends" will react to the things you share, eventually growing to care about it. Besides I think I do/share enough around here as it is, yes, yes even minus the T&A posts.

    As far as meeting anyone, no thanks. I have a rather large group of friends to begin with I find it difficult enough to juggle let alone adding to the mix. It's not that I dislike or like, that has nothing do to with my views I just choose to take this place at face value, as that mod told me back then, you're a random member on a random internet messageboard. Those that think they can't be replaced, that if they leave they'll be missed, sure you posts will be missed but like with much in life the masses move on and something or someone else fills your spot. No one is irreplaceable.
     
  14. Bourbondownthehouse

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    I like many others, wasn't very happy to see the closing of the RMMB. I'm glad to see many of the old posters have moved over here. While the vast majority of us have never met I'd consider some you to be more than "strangers". Our personalities show in our posts, and I know more about some of your lives than I do people I see on a daily basis (like coworkers). This place means a lot to me. I live alone and work a horridly boring job, all while attending even more boring classes. Needless to say I'm around these parts a lot. I'd say I actually enjoy this board more than I did the RMMB, mostly because I feel as if I "know" most all of the posters here. For instance I was generally concerned when toytoy disappeared on us, and I look forward to the knowledge drop ghettoastronaut is sure to preform on many threads in his trademark dickhead manner. One other poster here attends the same school as me, but we have never met. Thats not to say if anyone was ever in the area I wouldn't meet them for a beer.
    Recently a friend was over and saw me browsing the board and I had to explain to him what I was looking at. He has made fun of me mercilessly since for having "internet friends." I'm not embarrassed at all though, this place has given me a lot of laughs and lead me to a shit ton of awesome links, as I'm sure it will continue to do.
     
  15. Senna Vs. Prost

    Senna Vs. Prost
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    I have a lot of contempt for most message boards. I find most people get way too into them, substitute them for a real social life, live for the drama. The car forums are the worst, you get these social maladroits who get attention for their cars thinking they are the shit, but inevitably they are never the kind of people you would want to hang out with in real life.

    On the other hand, I still maintain that my time spent on the RMMB was more valuble than 4 years of university. I don't know if it's a reflection of how intelligent the posters were, how poor my University is at teaching you things you need to know (rather than the feminist post-colonial queer and questioning interpertation of Salman Rushdie). Probably both. I hope TiB can keep it up.
     
  16. JProctor

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    Message boards are fun when work is slow, or when I feel like staying in. To the extent I've set aside responsibilities or real-life social interactions to participate, I've generally regretted it. I've made some great friends on messageboards, and (after several years) no longer think of them as friends from the internet.

    I participate in a few fora. I don't post much, but follow some characters, and tend to enjoy interpersonal drama. Based on view counts, the threads that appeal to me are often the same that appeal to others. At some point it may be fun to become the center of attention again. Until then, there's nothing valuable about posting more sex/debauchery stories, i.e. "band camp" stories.

    Finally, I am suspicious of those of you who say you can't find intelligent or creative/depraved people in real life, so you seek them out here. Smart people will usually gravitate toward other smart people. If you don't fit into that category, a bit of self-evaluation may be in order.
     
  17. Dcc001

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    I didn't catch the second part of that article until I read it again. Does anyone here feel that online communities are experiencing a 'flash in the pan' syndrome? The article notes that message boards and such were highly popular amongst a large demographic of men, and then rapidly fell off in popularity. It appears that women are at the same point right now - does anyone feel that in, say, five years we'll all be past it and not use message boards or online social communities for anything besides the occasional car advice or hobby information?

    I don't know that it's a 'lack of intelligent people' in face-to-face life; I think it's more about context and timing. As I said earlier, conversation amongst people tends to be focused on a group activity or the present moment, particularly when it's just killing time. Could you casually turn to your buddy while sitting on the train on the way home from work and talk about how you lost your virginity, or the legalization of pot, or gender biases amongst food choices? Sure you could, but odds are you won't. In this media, that kind of thing is perfectly acceptable.
     
  18. JProctor

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    If you (plural) won't, you're not the debauched outlier you purport to be. There are hundreds of stories on this site about inappropriate things posters have said and the ensuing reactions of the straight men.
     
  19. ghettoastronaut

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    Well, to take education as a surrogate marker for intelligence, I'm in a pretty high speed low drag academic stream that had, if I say so myself, a fairly high bar to jump through to get in. If I were to tell a random person in class that I sometimes drink a beer or two alone, I'd be accused or thought of as an alcoholic by at least half the people I told. Ask them about sex? One quarter might respond with something other than an awkward denial that they so much as have genitalia, let alone a sex life. And as another facet, I'm not liable to talk about my sex life with them because they're all friends with my girlfriend. I can make posts with reference to "I just got a blowjob", but I couldn't tell that to the people I go to school with. And, by various circumstances, the people I go to school with are pretty much the only people I see on a regular basis.

    That's not to say that I haven't found creative, depraved and intelligent people in other venues who I can talk about these things with, but that's a separate area of my life that unfortunately doesn't get visited very often.
     
  20. toytoy88

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    I don't know how many of you were around the RMMB in '03 or '04, but they had the brilliant idea to hold a get together in Chicago. I was merely lurking and new at the time and watched it with interest.

    It was a huge cluster fuck of diverging personalities. No one liked anyone unless they were old college friends. There was one girl I specifically remember who was a brilliant writer and funny as hell. (Surprisingly, she was from the area I soon moved to...it gave me hope that this area wasn't full of toothless hillbillies.) She disappeared immediately after that weekend.

    It's to easy for someone to create a vision in their mind of who they wish they were as opposed to who they actually are. I've met a grand total of 3 people off the internet in 17 years of use. One was a guy and his wife from a baseball board, another was a guy and his wife from Holland that owned a software company that I met in a chat room around '96 or so, and one psychotic ex that I met on line. I also have one "Friend " that I've known online for about 15 years...she was a stripper, but has since gotten married and we exchange e-mails about every 6 months or so. I've never spoken to her or met her.

    The internet can be a wonderful thing and allow you to interact with people you never would've had a chance to without it, but it can be a slippery slope because their are a lot of lonely people out there with hidden agendas.

    For the record, I've never met a single person from this board. I've talked to one member of the RMMB on the telephone. A guy. I was bored out of my mind and we just bullshitted like we would on the board.