Aren't we all social beings?
Doesn't the very fact that we're all here to help ourselves, talk with each other, ask other people's advice, say things openly, etc. a proof that everyone here is indeed social?
I understand that some people perceive a difference between talking, helping and asking advice in a real-life setting and on an internet forum.
But (I'm asking especially those who think they are not social) can't you imagine yourself with the same social attitude you're expressing here also in real-life?
Could it simply be that you're more able to express your sociality through writing rather than physically speaking (and therefore the forum is easier)?
If yes, translating this attitude into real-life might actually be pretty simple...
No man is an island...
But some try like heck. ;)
I have been on both sides of the social fence and the benefits of being social greatly outweight the benefits I get from alone time, though I certainly don't neglect my personal downtime needs. Au contraire.
What I mean is... my idea of someone who is really unsocial wouldn't even come to a forum, let alone communicate with anything that is human.
Yet many people who are very social inside seem to perceive that they aren't - which I think isn't true.
I don't think people who label themselves as not being very social are saying that they aren't social whatsoever--just that they aren't as outgoing as most other people. And that can come from a variety of things. For me, for example, I was teased a lot as a kid growing up for my social awkwardness, my weight, my appearance--anything and everything, really--and I took it to heart and believed that no one really enjoyed my presence, so I became withdrawn and wasn't very outgoing in the real world until I got to college. I found that communicating online was a lot easier for me because I feel that I'm generally more eloquent in writing than in speech, and because I don't have to physically look at someone. When people look at me, part of me still fears that they're judging me negatively...and looking someone directly in the eyes is hardest, because I feel that if they're looking back at me in my eyes, they're able to search inside me to find something they can use to destroy me. Very paranoid, I know, and I've gotten better about it, but this is what bullying can do to people growing up.
There are two reasons why i come to this forum. 1)because I don't know anyone in real life who is into this stuff,and 2)because even if i did,i think i would still rather type it than say it. I hate talking. So you are right,i think we are all social creatures but for whatever reason a lot of us prefer to do it through writing/typing over the internet than talking to people about it. But lets face it...if this forum were instead a huge building where we could gather every day and TALK this stuff out,how would that even work? It would be more like a party and you would have to have good social skills to get to the point of asking your questions/venting your problems. I think writing online is the best way to get right to the point without having to worry about our fears of public speaking,despite our problems with social settings,what have you.
Hmmm I see. There are certain things that also I am better at expressing in written form.
But what I'm saying is: written or not written, we're social.
Probably those who have difficulties expressing themselves in written form face the same problems when coming online.
As a matter of fact when I first came to an internet forum when I was about 15 years old I faced a lot of problems in the way I communicated.
People picked on me, banned me, kicked me from chats and forums for the same things that I would say in the same way in real life where nobody scolded me!
That's why somewhere else on this forum I asked how can I get my point across without being misinterpreted, without being called a spammer or [f]lamer.
So, what I'm saying is: perhaps we have different channels of communication, but we're all social.
In this precise moment we're doing public speaking! You are public speaking!
Actually we're speaking to hundreds more people than at a normal party because there are also many anonymous surfers who read this but never post a reply :P
At a party I can say all the BS I want without caring what others think since they're drunk anyway. What I say here can be read by numerous people!
In a certain sense, for me personally, an internet forum or a chat would cause more fear of public speaking than a party or even an audience.
I'm sure now people here will start to pick on me...
One advantage to writing online is that your opinion will be heard. Too often in real life,you cant get a word in! Or people might hear you but not REALLY be listening. At least this way,people WLL read what you have to say,and they can sit and think about it for minutes,hours or even days,where in person,they are distracted by the next thing,and probably will forget whatever you had to say. I think expressing yourself by writing is much better than by speaking. It's also easier to stop and think of the right words you want to use,where in person you have to be a quick witty thinker in order to say it all right and keep everyone's attention long enough.
Woah, I really think this depends on the different situations!
Rockchick26, do you know how many times I have written things on forums and nobody even replied? I initially felt very discriminated on certain forums... and one time when I asked why nobody was replying, I was just banned from a forum (I was 15) I was so upset that I first wrote a long e-mail and then phoned the administrator to say sorry and understand what had happened and he just cut the line and didn't even answer the second time.
How come when I say the same things in real life nobody discriminates me?!
There are also many things that I cannot see in the person I'm communicating with to understand their real tone, their honest reaction to what I say, everything.
I noticed that when I write something funny, it never has the same effect as when I say it out aloud and those around me hear it and react immediately.
I know there are many people for example who post cam-posts on youtube (they record themselves speaking out their ideas).
And what about TV reporters?
I think there's also an analogical difference. They are in front of a screen yet they are communicating with millions of people.
I have done some drama acting and I can tell you that there's a huge difference between seeing the reaction of your audience and being blinded by the stagelights. With too much light, you cannot see whether they are smiling and reacting to what we're doing or whether they're bored. When you see their reaction, you can counter-react in the appropriate way, instantaneously.
The advantage of communicating physically is that you always witness the first reaction of the people involved and you can also communicate the right tone much better than in written form.
We use smileys on the forum, but in my experience even smileys are often misinterpreted.
Like sometimes when I write, "Hi, I'm really happy that you solved your problem :)" some people interpret that I'm arrogant and ironic - I mean, really... what's wrong with this world :P
It isn't just the amount of people. On forums there are similar social dynamics as in real life, probably even more amplified since (as you said) people have no restraints in "reacting truthfully", which in some cases might even be rude (such as in ignoring or not caring).
Additionally, there are people who just write and express certain positions for the sake of getting better "online reputation", be promoted to forum moderator, and similar things.
And people who just write things they have read on a book, but aren't able to defend their arguments when they are challenged.
The typical example are people who answer to the topic with some cliché predefined phrases, but when the original author asks something regarding those phrases, they don't answer anymore (it has happened to me on this forum as well, right now) nor do they admit that they might be wrong.
What I'm saying is, both written and spoken, humans are humans.
In social circumstances, whether it's sincere or calculated, if I disagree I somehow tell it in a mannered way in order to somehow reach a constructive solution.
Just because I don't shout at them and literally kick them out of the room doesn't mean I am a hypocrit.
Good social manners are useful sometimes and may create more results than straightforward insults :)
YourSelf and Rockchick have valid points, but I wonder, why should the replies you get to a message board post have any effect whatsoever on your sense of self?
Why not? O_o
I mean, you shouldn't let negative replies on a board make you see yourself in a negative way for any reason, except that your conscience feels that "Yes, they're right" (and you're prepared to change) and not because your ego is hurt and you feel like you have to "defend" yourself.
What are you referring to?
To the fact that when I was 15 I was depressed because I was banned?
Well, I felt quite rejected because in my perception all the people writing are actually humans behind a screen.
I'm just talking in general. Take the statement for what it is :D.
If you did before, it's alright. Just don't do it now :).
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