How are human interactions different on the Internet?

Human interactions are complex. So complex, in fact, that any meeting between yourself and another person is likely to be influenced by most or any of the details of the situation: the weather, how hungry you are, what time of day it is, and of course – how the other person is like. What does he or she look like? Is there an attraction? Are you intimidated by his or her appearance?

Do you need something from that person?

All of these influences weigh down on your mind, which is busy processing and calculating the details of each and every interaction being played. Rather than participating fully in the conversation, your consciousness is occupied with social details that might not be immediately relevant. Your “agenda” with that person is more prevalent and plays a bigger role. As well, since there is greater involvement of your “self” in the interaction, the desire for positive feedback is always present.

The interaction can easily become shaped around these noises, losing its coherence and intended meaning.

On the Internet, communication is often reduced to a “purer” form. Most communications are completely text-based. The identity of the person on the other side of the screen might not be entirely known to you, if it is at all. Your mind is freer to focus on the messages it receives rather than on the “superfluous” details. The nature of the interaction – its goal and the reason it is currently taking place – is easier to see and appreciate. Frequently, the interaction will take place with the subject at hand neatly defined.

With this, communication becomes clearer. The conveyed information is more relevant and precise. Since the interaction completely lacks any sort of non-verbal communication, the words used must be more carefully chosen, the message defined clearly.

Of course, this type of interaction isn’t superior to our more physical encounters. There are no words to describe some of the information conveyed by our physical posture, by the look on our faces, by the nuanced gestures that accompany any conversation. Internet communications are superior for specific types of interactions. Here are a few examples:

  • Transfer of formal information
  • Rational/intellectual discussions
  • Honest messages: easier to create and send, as the feedback for them does not have the potential to be as immediately negative, or feel as “real”, like in the physical interaction
  • Discussions in which one must express ideas and notions that are contradictory to one’s usual behavior or opinions

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Communications become focused on the subject of interest. Automatic and useless notions and biases, based on race, gender, looks, social status, and outdated traditions tend to disappear. Information flows from person to person, from node to node on the network, and judged based on its merit rather than on who is conveying it. Our ego plays a less meaningful role in the interaction, freeing the message from our influence on it; freeing the message from the messenger. The increase in signal to noise ratio opens the door to more complex interactions between us.

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8 Responses to “How are human interactions different on the Internet?”

  1. rand0mness Says:

    just some questions ;p
    did you calculated “time” in your “rating” system, you got these ideas from? did you over or under rate it?
    i fear, you underrated it. i fear that the time, which you are actually “living” with another person or “next to it” while even not communicating with speach, gives you a _much_ better understanding of other people.
    the internet just helps for people like you… and me, kinda…, which are more the “self-analytic” type^^
    what more do i fear:
    you just stopped to early thinking about the idea, because you were _busy_ in publishing these ideas. you said to yourself at some point “that is it!” without the question “or can it even be better?”.
    your idea _is_ great, that i muss admit^^
    i simply fear, that you are wrong, or “not at the ‘true’ end”. but idk.
    and i hope, that i didn’t throw you down deeper into any “larvierte depression”(german)?
    (sry 4 the last question, i wanna know this, because i kinda have the need to confirm some of my own “theories”, ya know…^^
    but i do fear them to be right :p)

  2. rand0mness Says:

    ah, btw, i just saw, that you got a lot of other stuff too, end this is kinda a “serie” (n1 idea there – i wanted to do it a bit more complex, more variable, if there is a theme i allready talked about, or “just not mentioned” that well, i would add it to these… wanted to free the “1d” structre of this, ya know?
    couse in the internet we can do. the message stays, where it is – time just changes.)

    ah, lol, what i wanted to say:
    i just read this article, yet. i didn’t want to comment on “your whole stuff”… i’ll go to read them, couse i kinda like your ideas 😮

  3. rand0mness Says:

    ehm, yeah… i finished reading, and i kinda see some “parallels” between us.
    i have, btw, the same problem like you right now “who am i”?
    i do love the internet, but i doubt, that you are _full_ right. you are just “on the right track” like many other people, but you can’t realize the problem.
    i can’t do it myself.
    but, there needs to be a kinda problem? or isn’t it?
    well, reality is _right now_ a problem.

    i’m going to try to explain you some stuff, i thought about – maybe it helps you, maybe it makes you “see” your missing context – maybe not.

    i do see a kinda strong “self-awerness” inside you, which is very good, and _may_ came because you spend much time in the internet.
    you are created like the system you grow up with, you spend time in, there for think “in the system”.
    i did myself, i am one of thousends of people who i would call “generation internet”, if – by any means – there are these people^^ (i do kinda hope, that i am crazy, srsly)
    the internet does _some_ good stuff, but the internet itself isn’t good, couse the people created and using it, aren’t.
    people tend to hide the “evil” sides of things, they are convinced of.
    people tend to give another image from _themeself_ to other people.
    -> and yeah, the internet gave me _this_ idea.^^
    you have very, very good ideas – mainly “thought up” by yourself, am i right?
    but, why did you do _all this_ by yourself? srsly?
    i… well… yeah it is a “fear” inside me:
    there are questions out there, people do not want to know the answer to.
    but they have to fight their “inner” will: they have to get ‘rid'(?) of the questions, so that they wount have the _possibilty_ to find an answer themself. Some people of these may even be _very intelligent_ and self confident?
    now, if you want to solve this problem, which idea is the “best” solution? – you cannot rly ask anybody, can you?
    and what should happen to you, if you do not want to have the answer anymore? or, what if you can’t “live” in such a world, if u are rly “right”?
    well, wouldn’t be the best solution, to these question, a _conscious_ set “tendenzy” to your own crazyness? or did this maybe happen subconscious, and you can take it as “possibilty”, as “an option” – because,,, after all it would be… true?
    _am i rly right_? ya, know?
    but, i, myself can’t rly “catch” the problem, the question.
    but i “kinda see” a tendenzy towards a “recursive” way of these “sort of” questions.
    a lot of people got these kinda questions – all over the time –
    “who am i?” “what am i?” a lot of _big_ heads thought about this stuff, we got the internet, we can get everybody now. that, and only that, is “my view” of the internet. i don’t want to interpret something _where nothing is_
    the world _IS_ random. but there is no _clear_ line where the “rand0mness” begins? or is it?
    the problem, i may have found, or which may not is(<-btw another very recursiv aspect):
    people are not able to judge "correct", because they do not know, who they rly are. which part of myself am _I_, which part is _random_?
    _WHICH FUCKING PART IS MANIPULATED BY YOU?_
    why do we have to live in such a bad world? or is it necassary "bad" to prevent it from evolving into even worse?

    and… am i the only one with these kinda questions? or am i just crazy? 😉
    (direkt question, the first one^^)

    sry, that i am not able to "create" a better form of speak, to "keep it on your niveau".
    i do rly suck at "speach" in generell – and english isn't my mother tongue 😮

  4. Dear rand0mness,

    I invite you over to the Internet Prophet Facebook page, where many other of my selves are battling over the same questions.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Internet-Prophet/104989272889993

    Feel free to start a new topic under the discussion tab.

    To answer your immediate question –
    No, this is not the end. It’s only the beginning.
    Lines are chosen semi-arbitrarily to create a message. An idea unit. A meaningful, closed statement.

    Many more will follow, on similar notions and on others. You are welcome to join and contribute.

  5. rand0mness Says:

    mhm… here is the _little_ problem:
    facebook.
    i wanted to try to build up a “community”-page, where everybody _can be_ anonymous, if he wants.
    couse a lot of people do fear reality, ya know^^

    but the idea behind this, kinda seems to be pretty much the same i had:
    get everybody, who is like you.
    and try to find out, if “you” are “normal” – what does the _human mankind_ rly want? or am i only for myself with my needs and desires?

    the reason, why everybody needs to find out “who he is”, why this comes first.^^

    but, moreover, reality kinda suxx, i’m kinda paranoid and stuff.
    facebook?
    no, thanks -> here wins the paranoid-self inside me.

    sry that i have to tell you this.

  6. rand0mness Says:

    haha, on the other hand:
    i am rly kinda paranoid, that is why the question “are you rly anonymous, if you say stuff like that” is unanswered as well.

    so maybe there is no difference in “public” and anonymous?
    :3

    one of the problems our world faces right now, i think..
    (there should be an “edit” button^^)

  7. Nothing in Facebook demands that you use your normal identity. You don’t even have to befriend anyone.

    If you want to help build a community forum for our site, I welcome you with open arms. You can find me at NaviReshet on gmail.

  8. well, yeah…
    not directly a “community forum”, but kinda…^^
    i dont want to be fixed by any defaults… ands that’s what the internet is about? or isn’t it?
    and… here is the kinda prob, of the internet: the internet is by default public.
    (meaning: everything you are posting, is open for _the whole_ world.)
    and this gets abused like hell.
    the “internet”, the idea of “communicating with everyone in the world, if i want”, is rly rly great.^^
    but, like always, there are some little things _srsly_ little things, i see as “became to a big problem, not realized by anyone else/everyone(insert “missing context” here), yet”
    and i do not know, if i am “right about that”, maybe? maybe not?
    i want to keep it kinda random, couse the world is random… and there are even some things, i don’t want to be able to know.
    how much should a person be able to know about himself?
    and in how far _can_ this after all go? and should it go?
    or is this just another recursive problem?
    i want to see everything i do as _random_, with a somewhat clear intention.
    i can’t know “enough” of myself. i srsly doubt that this is possible.
    and i do fear, that people just weight this qestion to much, because the answer, at the end, _HAS TO BE_ random. because noone could rly live in a world like that. or do humanity want to live in a system, where they do know _everything_. that there is “nothing more” behind anything…
    everything _is_ known.
    how would you _act_ if you realized this? would you act and manipulate the mankind like “the guys at the top” do? or are you just a _random_ guy, who doesn’t have the right to decide such stuff?
    _is our world the best world possible?_
    i srsly want to have this things to be kinda random.
    there is nothing clear, nothing “yeah, this is right”, it is just… an personal interpretation, idea or whatever, which more or less did fit into the world _at that point of time_. ya know?
    and… i do think there are some rly tiny things at _our_ system, which simply doesn’t work.
    and… it is just the internet, which made us realize, that _there is stuff_ which is wrong. but the internet itself, is kinda wrong, ya know?
    it is just a system, a better one?, than the one before, which _did_ work.
    or should u see the internet just as an “option” additionaly to the system allready excisting, which did make us realize some stuff?
    was this the idea behind it? was this the _intention_?
    welcome to the next recursive problem, kinda…^^
    btw, matrix is a very good film, if you watch it “the right way” xD
    i do think, that there are a lot of guys with these kinda questions. 😀
    it’s just reality which suxx.
    but in how far can reality get “perfect”, and how would you handle the minority?
    what is with the minority, if it is only 1/all in 1000 years? what is, if you can the system _this_ perfect? how do you handle these guys, and why do these guys have to be _valued_ because they are able to see problems _of the system_?
    there are a lot of many many other questions out there.
    i can’t answer such stuff, i just try to be good.
    and the world doesn’t let me do it.
    because i am good? because i am bad and didn’t realize yet?
    how far can manipulation of humanity _can_ go, if you have the right knowledge?
    why do you manipulate me that much? why don’t you want me to be able to ASK these questions?
    is the answer so fucking horrible?
    is the world, we face right now, the best possible world?
    random, random, random^^
    maybe there is nothing behind it, maybe there are just people, everywhere in the world, who “try to be good”, and are only doing these kinda horrible things happening in the world because of manipulation, they didn’t realized yet. or because of problems, i didn’t realized yet.
    there are countless explinations behind every little fact _in_ the world.
    and some stuffs just kinda happened randomly.
    so, if you are _very_ good in finding “parallels” and combining ideas and stuff, you are sure to take care: there are some things, which just _are_ random. there was no actual meaning behind it.
    or am i wrong?
    well, this is kinda “my reality picture” i am trapped in.
    i am kinda… self-confident. i do think, that some of my ideas are “better”. but, after all, it is just _my_ “better”.
    i don’t want to see it as _everybodys_ “better”. i don’t want it to be like that, couse than i am going to create a system, which humanity can’t escape… or better it gets harder and harder _to escape_.
    recursion?
    random?
    idk.

    sry that i am missusing your blog, but there is a question deep down inside us :3

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