TED Conversations

Avik Sarker

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Has the Internet aided your interactions with other people?

I'm just curious to see what others' opinions on how social media mediates communication, in whatever form. Has it helped you establish and/or maintain connections, or have they not been as fruitful as face-to-face interactions? From my personal experience, it has been useful in maintaining acquaintances, and my brother was actually able to sustain and grow an intimate relationship through Skype. What experiences have you had with social media as the mediator of conversation; have they been beneficial? What improvements to current technology would make it more open to beneficial, substantive conversation?

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    Mar 12 2013: I don't use the social media that you mention. When my facebook suddenly populated itself with my address book, and then started asking me if I knew all sorts of people Facebook shouldn't have known about, I realized how violated I felt and stopped all social media contact (except e-mail that I rarely use)

    Still, I like forums. I have learned much from them - both about my world and about myself.
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      Mar 13 2013: That's nice to hear the forums have been fruitful for you. Have the forums allow you to cultivate interpersonal relationships with other people as other forms of face-to-face communication settings, like conferences, meetings, etc. with various groups of peoples (like this forum but in real life)? I haven't really had many experiences on forums so I'm curious to hear how effective they are compared to physical places to talk.
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        Mar 13 2013: No, they haven't required me to invest myself in on-line relationships. If they weren't so anonymous, perhaps a snail mail exchange would allow that. But they are anonymous. They don't require me to invest in a relationship and don't invite them. Someone can leave a forum and not be missed until something is said and the missing person's absence is recognized.

        Physical meetings require something more of me than sitting in front of my computer as I am doing now. I would be sitting here anyhow because I enjoy it. If I take time out to visit with you, yes, I am doing it for myself, but I am also doing it for you. That element is missing in on-line communications.
  • Mar 12 2013: Yes,I met some of very nice people and had chance to communicate with them.People come from UK,USA...thanks !because of internet I also can get all your guys opinions about lots of questions here.That's good for me to extend my thinking.
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    Mar 11 2013: There are some loved ones with whom I find it is convenient to communicate in part online, but I think telephone and face to face are superior ways of maintaining intimate, heartfelt connection. I don't use Facebook or Twitter and I don't feel the visual aspect of Skype is better than simply using the phone, though I can see it would make a different for someone trying to interact with growing grandchildren, for example, from a distance.
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      Mar 11 2013: Thanks for your comment! I think its interesting how you say Skype doesn't seem better than the phone or face to face conversation; maybe better conversation through technology has something to do with whether the voice is involved.
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        Mar 11 2013: Avik, the value of Skype could be different for a young person than for an older one. Just as people who grew up savoring radio may feel less deprived to hear only voice than someone who grew up with television, those who grew up with without Skype but with phone might be just as happy to fill in the visual picture in imagination, which someone used to Skype might miss seeing the face on screen with the voice.