One of my friends noted how people take things seriously online. The things people say in im are not will not have the same realistic undertones as things said in person. A disconnection effect. This would be the same reason why people don\’t feel immoral when they download music or programs online. In his perspective, not seeing the physical world–the other person we\’re talking to, the actual cd case of music we\’re listening to, the envelope of a letter–results in a lack of seriousness and a presumption that we can escape from what we do online.
I believe it\’s more complicated than that. At least for the social exchange that occurs in im. The entire discussion started because a mutual friend of ours said something online that she later rejected in person. An im is not meant to be taken seriously! she said. But it\’s so much more complicated than that. There are thousand of im conversations exchanged per day. Sometimes for convenience. I certainly don\’t want to run downstairs to talk to my roommate if I can just ask him a question from my room. The ability to privatize your conversation in a large room full of people. It gives us another outlet of conversation. There are serious statements said–a breakup, a death in the family, the beginning stages of relationships, the cry of loneliness. Why would things online be less serious? If anything, it\’s the difference between a joke and statement.