Does The Internet Build Or Destroy Social Relationships?

from the not-this-again... dept

This debate keeps coming up, and it's beginning to get a bit ridiculous. It's the still popular question about whether or not the internet heps people connect with one another - or drives them further away from each other. While the article has people arguing for both sides (the guy who argues that computers are "bad" seems to be using an old, discredited study, but that's another story), it makes one very good point that many people ignore in this debate: it really depends on what the primary use of the internet is. If it's being used as a communication device, letting two or more parties connect with each other, it's likely to build social connections. However, if the entertainment industry (and some service providers) get their way and turn the internet into a one way broadcast medium, then it becomes much more a way to "escape" from social interactions. So far - despite the fact that many in the content business haven't caught on to this yet - the power of the internet is in the connections being made. That's what draws people online, and keeps them connected. Thus, I'm less worried about the "social" ramifications of the internet until content companies and ISPs figure out a way to stop the person-to-person communication aspect of the internet (though, some appear to be trying).

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  1. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 7 Oct 2003 @ 7:15am

    the net: perception vs. reality

    People's expectations of the net are driven by their perception of it, which depends a lot on how it's portrayed in the media. Big business is intent on fixing the image of the net as nothing more than the world's biggest shopping catalog. This isn't helped by the fact that the press is lapsing into its usual pattern of laziness, such as its apparent inability to tell the difference between "the web" and "the net".

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