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Differences in social relationships on the Internet and conventional, face to face relationships - Essay Example

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Human Need To Connect Transcends Cyberspace No man is an island. That cliche may have been overly used but always rings true. People have a deep-seated need to establish personal relationships with others. Being able to talk to someone, to be in the company of another human being to share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc , to belong… all of these are basic social and emotional needs that need to be fulfilled…
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Differences in social relationships on the Internet and conventional, face to face relationships
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Download file to see previous pages However, the human need to be connected to others is always present, and so people have turned to the internet, specifically, some social networking sites and applications to fulfill this need in the midst of their busy schedules, as family and friends have become more accessible and available in just a click of a button. It also offers a myriad of opportunities for meeting more people, relaxing with online games, sharing pictures and videos and an outlet to express innermost thoughts and feelings to share with others. McCown et al. (593) conducted a study about people who meet people via the internet and found that in general, they tend to be truthful in their interactions although they initially did not reveal their true names and were careful about their anonymity. Eighty percent of the subjects of the study formed casual or friendly relationships while 6% formed intimate or romantic relationships. About a third of the subjects made offline contact with 40% conversing by phone and 33.3% actually meeting in person. It was also found that people who established friendships on the internet take appropriate precautions to protect their identities but find the medium a safe and effective way to interact with others and to expand one’s social circle. Some people, though, have kept private information about themselves private before getting involved in social networking sites. They go on their lives keeping things to themselves, or have the option to share them with others by verbally divulging such information. Control of information is greater and confidentiality is better assured under the shield of anonymity. In another study by Stephure et al. (658) on online dating and engaging in romantic relationships via the internet, it was found that involvement in online dating increases rather than decreases as people get older due to their diminishing satisfaction with conventional establishment of romances. The internet has become a convenient method of finding a potential life partner. Stafford, Kline and Dimmick (662) remark that technology users think they can maintain relationships online especially those they have developed offline initially. At the time of their study (in the nineties) when video chat was not yet available, small and quick emails were used to keep in touch as opposed to letter writing. They also comment that some people tend to treat interactions with computers as social encounters so unconsciously, they also expect the rules of social interactions formed offline to also apply online. Colgate and Smith (140) have studied business relationships maintained online and found that the mode of interaction makes little difference to the strength of the relationship. Trust is established in the existence of good one-to-one relationship with the business partner. They also found that “the effects of the relationship banker are dependent on whether the customer uses primarily the branch versus the internet” (Colgate and Smith, 40). With the coming of Facebook, old friends have been reunited, families have grown closer, and people have been updated with each other’s lives. Writing one’s status message helps keep others aware of the state of emotions or life situation a particular friend is in and may write their own comment to show support, or mere acknowledgement of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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