You've got mail. lol. brb. afk. imho. rofl. Log on. IM.
The hype for the virtual world seems endless. Every day, more people go to the virtual world to connect and perhaps to attempt to build a reality within the virtual context.
Many of us perceive e-communication as a tool that brings us closer to each other. Indeed, with only a computer set, we may communicate instantly to anyone in other parts of the world.
However, looking at electronic discourses closer, it seems more sensible to say that distance is the main reason for the popularity of e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, blogs, blog forums, online gaming, online dating, social networking, etc.
The distance in any form of electronic communication pertains to the absence of instant and accurate feedback.
With e-mail, most of the time, we are not expected to respond as soon as we receive the message.
With instant messaging, we may be offline even if we are actually online.
In Facebook, a 12-year-old user can project an image of a 21-year-old.
In online gaming, say in the World of Warcraft, we can be a female character though we are biologically male.
The virtual world allows us to create an identity opposite of our real personalities.
Realities are created in the World of Warcraft
This is what computer-mediated communication promises. This promise, however, can sometimes be a threat to our already complicated lives.
With e-mail, social networking, and online gaming, we can build or destroy relationships, we make or break our neighbors in the global village, we can choose to follow or avoid certain entities, and we either show or hide our real personalities.
No matter how lucky we feel for being able to close gaps and connect bridges through e-communication, this technology cannot be a substitute for real, face-to-face communication.
E-communication comes with its greatest disadvantage: the lack of true identities of everyone involved. Anonymity is the name of the game in the virtual world.
Anyone can be someone else online; as the famous line puts it, "nobody knows you're a dog". This is the greatest mystery that we have to unveil. When facing only the monitor, touching only the keyboard and holding only the mouse, it is easy to project a personality that is different from the real personality we have.
The great distance made possible by e- communication can result in the blurring of the true identities of the people involved. It becomes a problem when we start to invest emotionally to the virtual relationship formed through computer-mediated communication.
Nothing can be more troublesome than trusting an entity online only to find out that it does not really exist.
There is no way the great distance can become narrow. The e-mail, IM, forum sites, blogs, and the social networking sites are only for those who can distinguish between real and imaginary.
We should find a way to "shield" ourselves from the lies that abound in the virtual world.
There is only one way to do this: if we know how to construct a reality online, we must learn to deconstruct that reality before we go back to the real world.
Finally, let me say that there's only one world that feels so real. It isn't found online . Stepped out. g2g . cya. bb!