Gali · female · registered since 2007 · last online - today
Gregory to Gali
1 July 2009
Review and Reaction of CyberPsychology & Behavior’s article: Online Chat Rooms: Virtual Spaces of Interaction for Socially Oriented People
The article relates information about the personality of people who chat online, as well as their views on chatting; including how it compares with face-to-face interaction. Specific questions regarding different aspects of chatting were asked in order to get the most detailed response possible. A bipolar adjective list was used to acquire information on personal traits, providing data on three different scales connected to the Eysenck personality factors – psychoticism, extroversion and neuroticism.
Because the study only surveyed 200 people, it is likely that the results are not as accurate as they would have been with a larger group. However, even with a relatively meager research sample, the results are considered reliable. The information was obtained from two groups of people, a sample of online chatters – 34 men and 32 women, and 149 psychology students. The questionnaire contained: multiple choices, open ended, and scale questions. While I was unable to review the actual questionnaire, the information provided within the article explained that the questions revolved around how often each individual uses the internet, the details of their cyber-relationships, including their satisfaction and motivation, as well as how chatting compares to face-to-face interaction.
The results of this study show that the stereotypical view of the bored and lonely is incorrect. In fact, the results point in the opposite direction–people who chat online are the same variety of people who communicate face-to-face. This means the benefits associated with being a social creature are seen when communicating online, with the same motivations driving those who seek others in class or at a bar – in order to interact with other human beings.
After reading this article my reaction was one of great elation – finally some validation to what I have known to be true for years – I am not some online chat weirdo. I have personally experienced a majority of what is discussed in this article, and even though it is a small sample size, I would agree whole-heartedly with the results. Throughout the years I have moved around a lot and used chatting as an effective way to keep in touch with so called ‘real life’ acquaintances as well as people who I have befriended online. – Many of the people I have met online have become very close friends of mine, and even consider closer friends than people I have met outside of the internet. Even if I were to move to a new area, my online friends treat me as if I had never left, because indeed, I haven’t.
I can confirm what is stated in the article: the line has become blurred between so-called real life and the cyber-world. Meaningful relationships abound – there are people I have known for over ten years whom I talk to on a regular basis. Everything one would find in a face-to-face relationship can be found in a cyber-relationship. This of course means the good comes along with the bad – there has been times of deception (tip: always web-cam with someone before meeting them) and e-drama abounds – but this is to be expected, as it is an integral part of all social interaction I have watched people come and go from the online scene and have seen the same traits, actions, and motivations as expressed in the article. I can type over 100 words per minute at 99% accuracy – typing comes as naturally as speaking.
We must also take into account the time this article was written, as far as technology goes this is considered ancient. Facebook was not even created until 2004 and it now has over 200 million active users worldwide. If MySpace were a country it would be the 5th largest in the world. The rate of change we see is amazing; the rise of social networking sites is proof that online communication is ubiquitous. However, this article focuses on a different type of interaction, one that allows you to get to know new people instead of allowing you to see what your old high school buddy is eating for breakfast. Another sign that his article has become dated is the fact that stated that only 9.1% of people engage in webcam chat – with the advances in technology that number has seen a dramatic increase. This adds another level, not of realism, but normality associated with the typical way of interacting – and some may not perceive this as beneficial.
Anonymity may be a driving factor for some chatters out there but it appears a majority are typical of what one would find in so called normal sociodynamic conditions. While face-to-face is still seen as the richest form of communication, the internet supplements or enhances what you can’t receive from other forms of contact. I agree with the results of this study and would like to see another study of this type that evaluates more recent changes in cyber culture.