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More than a third of Americans believe that the virtual worlds they visit online are as important as their dealings in the real world, according to a study.
Forty-three per cent of internet users who are members of online communities say they “feel as strongly” about their virtual community as they do about their real world communities, according to research conducted by the USC-Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future.
"Large numbers of internet users hold such strong views about their online communities that they compare the value of their online world to their real-world communities," said the report.
More than half – 56.6 per cent – of those logging on to online communities visited the virtual world at least once a day.
The 2007 Digital Future Project surveyed more than 2,000 individuals across the United States.
Is this the same survey that the current poll is about?
Link to survey?
Also click here
I read something interesting about this recently (but as usual I don't have the faintest idea where). There have been various studies and discussions on whether violent films cause violence and most experts seem to agree that violence in books and films doesn't result in violent behaviour.
But this article was saying that it is different with violent games because you are not just an observer (as you are in a novel or film) you are a participent. As an observer you are aware (even if it is subconciously) that this is not real but that isn't the case in a game: someone dies horribly and blood is spattered about because the gamer made it happen. The psychologist writing voiced concerns that this blurred the lines between real life and fiction.
Your example certainly seems to fit that argument.
I run an online support group for people whose cats are hyperthyroid. Over the years I've become very friendly with some of the members and I do consider them friends. Yes, they are as importent as my 'real' world friends because they *are* real world friends as far as I'm concerned.
I've made a lot of lasting friendships online. Tomorrow evening Kev and I are going to a pub in London to meet up with one such group of friends. We all met through usenet/newsgroups 10 years ago (before the days of fora) and have remained friends ever since.
It has caused an increase in social activism - whatever that is. Surely that has to be a good thing - doesn't it?
is that I'm fascinated by the 'online friend' syndrome, and have direct evidence of the way that some people do indeed consider friendships that are formed online as being every bit as real as 'normal' offline relationships. I'm not revealing details, but some of our forum members have revealed to me the fact that they consider their forum friends to be as important as those they have outside the forum.
Occasionally when I've banned someone I've been subjected to email barrages from individuals who could only have acted that way because they were defending a close friend. Again I can't reveal details, but if you read the messages you would know what I mean.
Many of you will know the story '84 Charing Cross road' about an American writer called Helen Hanff who, shortly after World war ll carried on a long correspondence with Frank Doel, who worked for London booksellers Marks and Cohan. They never met, yet their correspondence friendship was real nevertheless. There have been other examples - the writer C.S Lewis conducted an intimate correspondence with an American woman he never met.
Now we have the internet, and the immediacy of online forum discussions, and for some people the friendships they feel they form are important. I wondered if our forum members felt the same as those Americans who responded in the survey that prompted your thread, Chris.
Its a little bit of the fascination of the unknown.
During my short time with the forum I feel I have got to "know" quite a number of people though the style and quality of their postings.
There are many here who have my respect, through the work they put in to help others and/or the views they bring to discussions here in Speakers Corner. I feel I know them, but of course its just a slice or a section of them really.
There is though an empathy in a way.
As a curious human my interest in the others here intrigues me at times but rather like when viewing the fully clothed person the rest is almost certainly best left to the imagination rather than uncovering more!
So is it friends? Well no not at all really, it does however provide a form of companionship which has its benefits. I enjoy my time here.
I think your experience is a fairly common one. You don't go as far as to claim that you've made friends here, at least, not in the conventional sense, but you happily confess to enjoying the online companionship of others.
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