The Internet: The truth or a close second?

The Internet. A place where you can either be yourself, someone you wish you were, or someone you want to be. This thought has always been a concern for me when it comes to Computer Mediated Relationships (CMR). Sure there is a form of interaction taking place online, but how can one tell if the other person is actually being sincere? In Noah I found it rather ironic that Noah thought Amy was cheating on him yet in a way he was cheating on her with the Internet. Instead of actually listening and talking to her on Skype he was distracting himself with pointless internet games and other silly websites. Now where does the irony come in? As soon as Noah changed Amy’s Facebook relationship status he closed out of all his tabs to reveal his background picture of the two of them. When Amy blocked Noah from viewing her Facebook, he almost immediately went to to see if he could see her Facebook page after logging on- not a porn site. It was not until Noah no longer had access to see Amy on a daily basis that he began to think about her day in and day out.

For me, if you truly like someone then you want to talk to them and see them. In a face-to-face relationship, physical interactions are absolutely vital in my opinion. I’m not saying it is easy to just put yourself out there by any means. I myself am shy most of the time until I get a feel of the environment I am in and how the people are interacting around me. Having said that, in the article “Digital Dating and Virtual Dating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships” by Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson, Merkle and Richardson bring up an excellent point regarding self-disclosure.

When it comes to responding to a CMR, you have the to time to plan out what you want to say and how to go about saying it. This can either be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it. It can be an advantage if you are able to “let go of the anxiety and apprehension” that comes with having a real face-to-face conversations; however, because it is not face-to-face one can never be 100% certain if the person he or she is talking to means what he or she says. This timelessness affect allows someone to truly say what he or she feels or what he or she thinks the other person wants to hear by analyzing his or her previous responses (that are forever in writing). This leads to another problem with CMR that Noah encountered. When Noah hacked into Amy’s account he thought she was talking to another guy; however, instead of asking her he jumped to a conclusion (a conclusion that ultimately ended their relationship mind you!). On the Internet is it perceived that talking to an opposite gender can be considered “relationship infidelity”, similar to how Noah assumed the guy messaging Amy liked her when he was actually gay. In a face-to-face romantic relationship, a sexual advancement or act with someone other than your partner is deemed as “relationship Infidelity”. To me there seems to be a larger grey area when it comes to CMRs because of all the opportunities and availabilities to spark conversations with other people.

http://www.ted.com/talks/stefana_broadbent_how_the_internet_enables_intimacy?language=en

For me personally I do not believe it is possible to have an emotional and sexual relationship without face-to-face interactions. Yes there are more variables when it comes to a face-to-face relationship, but these variables are all necessary to achieve a fulfilling relationship. Sure it is more of an effort to physically meet up with someone as oppose to talking through social media, but that is how you truly get to know someone! Here is a little experiment: Read a message from one of your closest friends. Now, did you read it in their voice as if they were standing right in front of you? This probably has never occurred to you before; however, you were able to do that because of the numerous interactions you have had with said friend. Little things like that personable connection make me believe that face-to-face relationships are better than CMRs.

When it comes to CMRs I tend to over analyze massages from people that I don’t really know mostly because I am not able to see the facial expressions or hear the tone of voice they used while “saying” something to me. To me the personal interaction is crucial to having functioning relationships simply because you get to interact with them on a 3-D level and not through a screen. I find it rather sad that future generations are only going to understand intimacy through the Internet and not through in-person social interactions. No matter where I go I see younger kids looking at their smartphones instead of what is happening right in front of them, life.

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One comment

  1. I totally agree. I lose the authenticity and realness of a relationship with anyone without any face-to-face contact as well! Also the overanalyzing messages is a trend that plagues our generation, I think: it’s hard to tell if someone’s being sarcastic over a text message!

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