A nerd’s paradise

anything sci-fi, fantasy, computer and rants

online communities

As a self proclaimed nerd I spend a lot of time behind the computer. I surf, chat, read, participate in online forum discussions, blog and mail…

This entire time is totally void of direct, face to face human contact. But I am still communicating with people, no matter where they are. I can reach them and they can reach me. The world has grown smaller, not just because of faster planes, cars and other means of transportation. But because of the internet.

And because of this new form of interaction and communication communities begin to form, such as WordPress for example. We are here all part of an online community. Some more active than others, but all part of this. And this is a good thing. It brings us closer together, allows us to share ideas and discuss politics, environmental issues and so much more. We can make friends online and enrich our lives in many ways.

But is there a downside to all of this? Some would say yes. Dystopian novels and movies often warns us of the dark future that lies ahead as we allow the internet to get a stronger grip on our lives. Are there dangers to online voting or banking? Without a doubt yes. Is it smart to organise democracy, taxes and other important matters over the internet? I don’t think so. It has always given me a very uneasy feeling. Just as the fact that so many companies out there are gathering so much personal information about us. (Some links about this on the bottom of the page)

All this does remind me af ‘a brave new world’. But on the other hand, is there any current evidence that proves that it is dangerous? Not yet, in Estonia it was tried with succes. But the fear of hacker attacks and fraud is still present and I can agree with the reservations.

Online communities are fun, but for children it can be dangerous as well, sexual predators roam internet communities such as chat rooms and social networking sites searching for victims.

Another dystopian idea is the danger that our virtual lives would take over our real ones.  It always makes me think of Second Life where you can design you own house, sell land and just about anything else you can do in the real world. Or other virtual lives that you can have. And they can be very addicting.

And whenever I think about this, I realise that it is better to go outside now and then. Meet people face to face and have a real world chat. I’m not anti-internet or anything. It’s a great hobby. But the real world is out there… Let’s go!

Wiki article on virtual communities
Wiki articla on dystopia
Google watch on internet privacy
Privacy rights

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August 9, 2007 - Posted by | internet, Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. There is a contradiction to online communities that has always fascinated me. On one hand, the internet brings us closer together. It allows a person in Australia to communicate directly with a person in Mexico 24 hours a day. But on the other hand, as you say, it is not face-to-face communication and in that respect there is kind of a barrier.

    Also, you can have the near immediacy of a conversation, but there’s enough lag time that you have an opportunity to collect and compose and edit your thoughts.

    The internet is also sort of liberating from the confines of normal social behavior and it’s easier to feel more confortable expressing one’s self and to say things you might not say in a room full of people. That can be both good and bad.

    Comment by Craig Kennedy | August 9, 2007 | Reply

  2. Yes, I have also noticed that people are loser online. Even if you know them personally. Strange, I wonder why? Is it because they aver afraid of the reactions of other people, and feel somehow safer sitting behind a computer screen far from the person they are talking to?

    Comment by oneandonlyhypnos | August 12, 2007 | Reply

  3. Concerning that barrier. You miss things like facial expressions and gestures. That is also a sort of barrier. But with webcams and mics that is also changing very fast.

    Comment by oneandonlyhypnos | August 12, 2007 | Reply

  4. I’m not sure why people are more comfortable. Lack of eye contact and the safety of anonymity I’m sure is part of it.

    Comment by Craig Kennedy | August 17, 2007 | Reply


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