Just Because People Are Online, It Doesn't Mean They're Virtual
from the seem-pretty-real-to-me dept
There's a new study out about how people online are making friends online -- which is hardly a surprising fact. However, where the reporting on it gets weird is that the press keeps referring to these relationships as "virtual" friendships, as if the people aren't real. The people are very real, and the friendships aren't "virtual" at all. It's just that the conversations are often kept up digitally. It's also weird to see quotes like: "More than a decade after the portals of the worldwide web opened to the public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become." That's really a rewriting of history. The internet has always succeeded as a communications platform. Things like email, BBS's, IRC and Usenet were very much about the social aspect long before the web itself even came along. To claim that it's suddenly reached its potential is misleading. It's just that people are finally recognizing that the social and communications aspect is what the internet does well, instead of trying to force it into being a broadcast medium.