internet socializing

I was thinking about one of my friends, who met her current boyfriend on the internet. As far as I understand, she met him online three years ago, and met him on a couple occasions. Now she has moved here (to London) and has been physically seeing him for two years.

I can’t imagine anything of the sort happening to me. I could not seriously think I was dating somehow if I had never met them, or only met them once or twice.

It’s different, perhaps, if a couple already has a long history and is then separated and continues to stay in touch via the net. But meeting on the net? Dating on the net?

Why is it that internet dating is so popular? There are a multitude of websites dedicated to finding our exact match. Why would anyone want that? Aren’t opposites supposed to attract?

Perhaps, in a more and more franticly paced society, internet dating helps you narrow down potential candidates whilst still giving you a wider pool to fish from.

But it is not only dating that is incredibly on the increase on the net. Basic social interaction is increasingly occurring on the internet rather than face to face.

Could it be that msn and websites such as facebook, myspace, etc are replacing real social interactions?

I wonder whether future generations will spend more time at the computer than outside. Or more probably, will have portable computers in the shape of glasses with which to chat to people in an msn-like style. It could have its bonuses, I suppose… you could message a hot guy crossing the road in front of you!

In any case, will future generations be less socially adept?

Msn is supposed to mimic real life interaction, and is constantly being remodelled to be more interactive, such as the addition of new smileys, winks, display pics, games, etc.

Think about it though, how many of the developers of msn software are successfully socially? I don’t mean to be conditioned by stereotypes, but most of the programmers I’ve met are introverted.

Anyway, whatever additions they make, they cannot recreate the real thing, but only a simulation of it.

Is a simulation good enough?

In some cases, it seems to be. Many people, myself included, have made friends over the internet, people I’ve never met but with whom I share interests or passions. Is the friendship real? Can it be considered a friendship if you hide your own identity, your name, often even your own face?

But although people hide their identity to their nameless internet friends, they spill out their darkest innermost secrets. Why is it easier to confide in people you’ve never met? They can judge you just like any other person. Is it simply because you know they can’t judge you to your face? They can’t speak to people you know, and tell them what they heard?

Are internet friends ears with no mouths?

I have no answers, only lots of questions. So tell me what you think.

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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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