How have people adapted to the new psychological, cultural, and linguistic environment of the Internet?

Kara Ward

How has the Internet become a new medium for beginning new relationships and enhancing old ones?

 Frustrated with the poor selection of potential

partners you meet in everyday life?  has over 20 million registered users.  Approximately 4.77% of new marriages in the U.S. got their start through

 Many relationships

(both friendships and romantic relationships) begin through media primarily intended for entertainment.  “Proximity” on the Internet differs from geographic proximity.
Note: the above comic is true for proximity to a computer with a video or picture of a cat as well.

 What constitutes infidelity on the Internet?

 Transference contributes to meaning of online


 Some positive effects: increased opportunities for

those who are physically different and may be judged because of their differences, an increased ease with self-disclosure, and the ability to explore oneself without consequences  Some negative effects: increased propensity to lash out at others, excessive sexual exploration which may lead to interest in violent pornography, and a lack of feeling responsible for one’s words or actions on the Internet

 Online conversations lack nonverbal cues.

 Emoticons!

:) :P D:

:( :D C.C

T.T (O.o) :* (>’_’)>O

What are Flame Wars? What aspects of the Internet lead to Flame Wars?

 Huge, often public Internet battles between two or

more people.  Usually started in one of two ways: through a misinterpretation or by a flamer (someone who intends to start a flame war)  Usually continue with “eye for a leg” mentality

“Hi, I’m a 23 year old graduate student and would like to communicate with any females on this news net.” “Well, Howdy! Finally a request for a female that doesn’t specify species – you wouldn’t believe how many people on this net want a woman, which of course means a person. *giggle* My name is Susa, and I’m a five-year-old Lemur in the Philly Zoo.” (Wallace 22)

 High levels of frustration

 High levels of anonymity
 Low levels of physical presence  Impersonal atmosphere

How do Internet users use the anonymity of the Internet to experiment with their identity?

 Psychosocial Moratorium

 Experimentation can be small or

extreme.  Anonymity and lack of physical presence

 Avatars are digital representations of players

 Hard-core players typically play 5-6 hours every

weekday and 10 hours each day of the weekend.  Quickly make friends online – but offline relationships suffer.

How have new “languages” developed through the Internet?

 Acronyms are widely used in chat programs and

forums. Example: @TEOTD  1337 or “leet”  Different ways to say the letter “A”
 4 @ /-\ /\ ^ aye ∂ ci λ

 Computer-mediated communication reveals a new

form of language – somewhere between written and oral language.  Users speak/write online similarly to how they speak/write offline, but with many abbreviations and errors.
 Examples: “what r u doing?” “omg,” “lol”

The World Wide Web provides a new environment to which humans have adapted psychologically – thus enabling new Internet “cultures” and “languages” to form. The Internet has provided a fascinating backdrop for new forms of human communication and interaction.