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BS: Cyberspace Friendships

Little Neophyte 19 Mar 00 - 09:19 AM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 09:36 AM
wysiwyg 19 Mar 00 - 10:00 AM
Jeri 19 Mar 00 - 10:25 AM
Little Neophyte 19 Mar 00 - 11:08 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 19 Mar 00 - 11:18 AM
kendall 19 Mar 00 - 11:38 AM
Jeri 19 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM
catspaw49 19 Mar 00 - 11:51 AM
Rick Fielding 19 Mar 00 - 12:06 PM
Rick Fielding 19 Mar 00 - 12:08 PM
Mbo 19 Mar 00 - 12:50 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 12:52 PM
Mbo 19 Mar 00 - 12:56 PM
Little Neophyte 19 Mar 00 - 01:03 PM
Rick Fielding 19 Mar 00 - 01:04 PM
Bill D 19 Mar 00 - 01:06 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 19 Mar 00 - 01:13 PM
WyoWoman 19 Mar 00 - 01:16 PM
GutBucketeer 19 Mar 00 - 01:17 PM
Jon Freeman 19 Mar 00 - 01:29 PM
catspaw49 19 Mar 00 - 01:34 PM
Metchosin 19 Mar 00 - 01:35 PM
katlaughing 19 Mar 00 - 02:06 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 02:41 PM
catspaw49 19 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 03:02 PM
MK 19 Mar 00 - 03:29 PM
WyoWoman 19 Mar 00 - 04:09 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 04:27 PM
WyoWoman 19 Mar 00 - 04:39 PM
MK 19 Mar 00 - 04:48 PM
The Beanster 19 Mar 00 - 04:50 PM
katlaughing 19 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 05:06 PM
Little Neophyte 19 Mar 00 - 05:17 PM
Amos 19 Mar 00 - 05:46 PM
TerriM 19 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM
SingsIrish Songs 19 Mar 00 - 06:38 PM
Mbo 19 Mar 00 - 06:45 PM
bbc 19 Mar 00 - 07:17 PM
wysiwyg 19 Mar 00 - 07:25 PM
The Shambles 19 Mar 00 - 07:26 PM
JedMarum 19 Mar 00 - 08:51 PM
Little Neophyte 19 Mar 00 - 09:18 PM
Mbo 19 Mar 00 - 10:18 PM
rangeroger 19 Mar 00 - 11:30 PM
GutBucketeer 20 Mar 00 - 12:10 AM
ceitagh 20 Mar 00 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,Homeless (somewhere else) 20 Mar 00 - 12:45 AM

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Subject: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 09:19 AM

I have been thinking about this for some time now. Wondering what is going on psychologically when we feel close to people through cyberspace yet we have never met each other personally.
Are these friendships real or are they just a fantasy we create in our minds?
Cyberspace friendships seem to stir the same emotions as any other personal friendship. Does that make them real? There are people I feel close to in 'real life' yet I struggle to have the ease of conversation I can share with my cyberspace friends. I sum this up to the layers of 'fluff' surrounding me that seem to get in the way of deeper intimacy. The walls protecting my fortress when I am scared and my turtle shell that I duck into when I feel threatened.
In cyberspace I do not need much in the way of defenses, I can relax and be at ease when expressing my feelings. It is a strange feeling to feel close to people I have never met.
On some level this makes sense, on another level it does not.
What is it like for other Mudcatters?
What is it like for other Mudcatters who have been friends with people through cyberspace and then one day they eventually meet these people personally?
The cyberspace friendships I have made do mean a great deal to me. But it does leave me asking a lot of questions.
I was hoping some of the other Mudcatters could help me formulate some opinions on this matter.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 09:36 AM

I dunno, Neo -- helping you form opinions could be risky -- what if you formulate 'em, then don't like them? Or what if they don't work?

Seriously, I think the events and perceptions that make up reality are self endowed to a very high degree, and that some large portion of "reality" as we know it is our own work. From this perspective the friendships you have here are as real as any friendship, and perhaps in a way more so since they are built from considered steps (all the thought that precedes _some_ of the posts here). Meatspace friendships are built on noisier exchanges, richer with _somatic_ context, but not necessarily richer in emotion except that they are perhaps more complicated -- because the quiet safe space behind your monitor is traded for a noisier, more random, louder and heavier kind of experience.

Another factor is that because of the elegance of the prequalifying that has to occur for a person to end up here they are sure to have a lot in common with you, and a willingness to engage in dialogue. Just think of the number of choices that we have all made similarly to arrive here, starting with 1folk music .

In a sense, there is just as much communication in thehighly filtered exchange of typing on your video scren, such as this, as there is in the eye-to-eye conversation with a girlfriend, say, over coffee. The messaging context and coding system is much, much leaner, with no voice tones and gestures and smells and touches and colors. But to some degree a consensual style evolves to compensate for that. And the fundamental functional map is the same in that one point of life is contriving to signal another through various intermediary mechanisms, with the intention of inducing understanding. Logisticaly cybercommunication is a lot more convenient.

The quality of the friendships are appropriate for the context...meat friends involve deeper and more solid committments, usually.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 10:00 AM

Amen.

Bonnie, is there more you are asking but not asking?


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 10:25 AM

The friendships made here are based on common interest and how people express themselves in writing. In meatspace, we often begin (or don't begin) relationships based on what people look like - what clothes they wear, how big or small they are, their age, color, hair style, or good-lookingness. Appearance, even for those of us who know better, still has something to do with whether you chose to strike up a first conversation.

Of course, there are a whole lot of things you can't do with a cyberspace friend, mostly involving being in the same place. No hugs, no baking cookies together, no hanging around together.

I've noticed this, and other people have said the same thing to me - no Mudcatter I've met in person has been different than their on-line persona. I've gotten to know people better, because talking is a lot more efficient than typing, but my basic feelings about people have remained the same.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:08 AM

Not really Praise, just interested to know how other people feel about cyberspace friendships.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:18 AM

The simple answer to this is yes, one can become very attached to people through computer. I have become very fond of some Mudcatters over the years without meeting them in person. Amos has succintly described the process. One should not be blind to the fact that people are human and can form such attachments. The difficulty is understanding the difference between illusion, and reality, many of us will never meet in person. Therefore one should not become obsessed with ones feelings. May I recommend that you rent the movie 84 Charing Cross Road. Starring Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, as a prime example and illustration of what this thread is about. Yours,(Affectionately) Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: kendall
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:38 AM

Amos, you remind me of Plato in the Beetle Baily comics!! Fact is, we always create our own reality. I cant know what kind of picture you have of me, for instance, but the reality is..I'm a crusty, egotistical prick.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:42 AM

Oh - just to ammend my previous comments, there are some people who come off as crusty, egotistical pricks, but who are very nice people with big hearts and a hell of a sense of humor. I'm not going to name names, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:51 AM

Kendall, you'll be happy to know that you come off here as a crusty, egotistical prick.

But, I think your mood will improve once you come up with a cure for the sinusitis. Sorry the Bass weejun crapping didn't work out, but maybe the munching on Edsel back-up lights will work out for you.

Best of Luck.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 12:06 PM

Great analogy Dave.

Little Neo, I think I understand exactly what you meant by this thread. Like Praise, I also wondered if there was more you wanted to share (or ask). Here are some of my thoughts on it.

For many years, I would meet folks at gigs all over North America, and if someone seemed interesting (for whatever reason) I'd think "must stay in touch". Of course due to time constraints, lost addresses and phone numbers, etc. with few exceptions, the relationships would mostly fall by the wayside. Mudcat changed all that for me (as it did for Sandy Paton, who told me that "this was the kind of community he'd been looking for over many years")

I've been told countless times about the "dangers" implicit in cyber-friendships, such as only knowing "what the other person WANTS you to know about them" and the inevitable "dark side" that can be more easily hidden behind a computer than in face to face relationships. This doesn't trouble me because I accept "dark sides" as part of any package, and if I haven't learned how to recognize a "potential axe-murderer" yet, I never will.

My experience has been that I've made a few very nice "connections" here. Some of the folks in that group I've now met in person and I can truly say I've not been disappointed or surprised in any way. Sometimes my schedule which can get very hectic (at times) makes it difficult to keep the communication at the same level all the time. Someone will send me a 20 paragraph e-mail and I only have time for a 3 line response. That's the result of us not knowing as much about each other's "working life" as we do about our leisure (and hobby) times.

A lot of the "Cats" chat and sing with each other on ICQ or Hearme (or the various "Mudcat tavern etc." threads) and as much as that might be fun, I simply don't have the time to do it. No question that creates "bonds" that often find their way into other threads. Just human nature. I think it also creates a situation where the folks who've done that "bonding" tend to pass very quickly over posts by those who are "not part of their group" in order to respond to those whom they've already made "connections" with. When I first joined Mudcat a year and a half ago, I saw many posts suggesting that it was "cliquish", so things haven't changed that much in that area...but it's just people "making cyber-friends" and wanting to hang out with them.

Good thread Neo. Should be interesting.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 12:08 PM

Besides if it weren't for cyber/friends (at first), I wouldn't be getting ready to make my pro fiddle debut! Thanks Jeri.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Mbo
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 12:50 PM

I take these relationships VERY seriously. These "cyber-friendships" are the only friendships I have. Yes, writing is more cumbersome than actually speaking, but for me, writing what I am feeling is easier to do than express myself in words. You can tell that be listening to me on any Hearme, where just by listening to me speak you can hear the quaver in my voice. I am a nervous and shy person in public, and don't respond well to people, UNLESS I know them very well. In my classes, I'm very taciturn, but at my work study job, my supervisor/colleague Dr.Brown work remarkably well together. It's like talking to your aunt or something. We talk about everything from our childhoods to preferences of bottled water. I'm sure that if I met any of you 'Catters that I have spent so much of my time with, that it would be much the same. So, I have learned my lessons in the past here, and would to anything to preserve these 'cyber-relationships"...we may meet one day, and who know what'll happen then? We may be even BETTER friends thanks to the meeting.

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 12:52 PM

kendall,

no matter what catspaw says, it never crossed my mind that you were egotistical...

sorry 'bout the rampant and untrammeled polysyllablism -- I was heavy with wine when I wrote that --


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Mbo
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 12:56 PM

Amos, thou filled thyself so full within with jolly good ale and old?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:03 PM

When it comes to more I want to share or ask, now that I think about it, maybe there is.
There are some Mudcatters I do feel more deeply connected to in some way and yet I have never met them. Sometimes I wonder if I should remind myself this is just a computer. If I met these people in person would I realize it was just a perception I created in my head.

Dave makes a good point. Not to get obsessed about the relationships, but I could say that about anyone I met in person too.

Yet like Jeri, when I had the opportunity to meet her, Jeri in person was the lovely intelligent persona of who she is on the Mudcat.
When I post, basically what you read is who I am. And I guess maybe I am assuming that when others post I am going to receive the same. Maybe that is being naive.
I am so use to building personal (physically present) relationships, I guess I am trying to understand better the relationships I am building here.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:04 PM

Mbo, one of the benefits of cyber-relationships is the opportunity to find someone (reasonably) quickly who shares a MAJOR interest with us. In my teen years I would have killed to find someone I could be friends with who absolutely LOVED baseball AND folk music. I never did find that person(s) til years later. I knew there must have been someone out there who did...but the search would have taken forever. Because of the "Net" I now count several "folky/baseball" folks among my friends.

Because of my shyness then, I made huge numbers of compromises, that I'd rather not have made. Because I was considered virtually "unteachable" in school, it made me question not only my intelligence, but most certainly my work ethic. What (I now know) I really needed was a "comfortable environment" where whatever gifts I had, could flourish....that turned out (for the most part) to be the "folk community". I also cherish these friendships.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:06 PM

the answer to your question is not easy, as Amos so clearly points out. Here is a different way of looking at it...

There are a couple of kinds of people in cyberspace, (yes, I know, LOTS more than two,,,but...)

1) there are those who simply do NOT treat words on a screen as real people, and do not present themselves as they would in person. Sure, if you press them, they do know that a 'person' typed those words, but they relate in ways they would never do in 'meatspace'? (used to just say RT, for Real Time)...witness the flame wars.

2)There are others who strive to be as real and clear as they can possibly be, even though there are nuances which are hard to project. I am sure that already, there are those whom you are sure you'd like to meet, given the chance, and others you are not sure about.

Fortunately, at the Mudcat, people tend toward 'realness', even when it shows some of their negative sides..(I have a way of being a grumpy curmudgeon at times, though I would temper this a LOT in person). Having met a number of Mudcatters at the often mentioned FSGW Getaway last fall, I am really pleased at how well most of us got along.....still, there were some who, though I can get along with, I know I'd never 'hang out' with them. People in RT are the same as in here....some are overly taken with themselves and their status, some are shallow and 'prickly'....and some are just amazingly kind, generous and aware of the feelings of others! There are several I would LOVE to have for neighbors on my street....and a couple I am just as glad I don't have to interact with every day...*gentle shrug*

There is a quote somewhere, that I have lost. but paraphrased, it goes: "No matter what your cause, religion, organization, party, etc., there is always someone on your side whom you wish were on the other side."

You know, in a few years, the internet/WWW/cyberspace is going to PROFOUNDLY alter a lot of the ways humans interact and conduct their lives, You already see a bit of it, but there are kids who are integrating IRC, ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, HearMe, etc., into their very consciousness in ways we barely understand. This is not all bad, but it is VERY different.

and that is only about 10% of what I'd like to say on the matter,,,*big grin*....but this is altering my RT, and I have chores...


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:13 PM

In the safety of our homes/offices we have the freedom to say what might take years of "meatspace" acquaintence- so that when we do finally meet, we already know each other more intimately than we do some of our closest acquaintences in our home towns. We put up so many social barriers in "real" life that don't exist here. I echo with Jeri and others th truth that most of the Mudcatters I've met are the same people here in cyberspace as in the flesh. And I can't wait for NEFFA and Old Songs to continue that research!! The only real drawback to cyber friendships is the lack of hugs!


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: WyoWoman
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:16 PM

This is a good thread, Neo, thanks for starting it.

The Mudcat is the first (and only) endeavor of this sort that I've gotten involved in, partly because of the time constraints Rick mentions, but partly because it's been so fun (mostly) that I haven't had any interest in going elsewhere. When I only have 20 minutes to cruise around online, I generally check my e-mail, then dip into the 'Cat for a few minutes.

I take the friendships I've made here as seriously as most of my other friendships. I can't tell you how incredibly cool it was to be working on New Year's Eve and to get phone calls from Catspaw and El Swanno from opposite sides of the country, wishing me Nappy Hew Year. And when I finally met up with Alice in Montana, there wasn't but about a two-minute period of awkwardness and then it wasn't as if we were "starting" a friendship, but just resuming a conversation we'd left off a few nights earlier.

When I go to San Francisco in April I'll meet El Swanno and P.J. for the first time -- and hopefully others -- but it won't be as if I'm meeting up with strangers. Over time our personalities can't help but make themselves clear in our postings, and it's these that the friendships are based on. You might be able to keep up some sort of persona for a while, but after a few postings your true colors would come out anyway. (So ... everyone who reads my stuff knows that I'm a playful, music-lovin' smartass who occasionally thinks pretty deeply about stuff and from time to time gets a mite snippy about her point of view...)

But, considering what we all know about Catspaw from HIS posts, it could be so much worse ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:17 PM

Bonnie: Thanks for this thread. I have been thinking about this too for some time. I have asked myself:

"How would my cyber friends think about/relate to me if we met in real life?"

or

"Would we even be friends if we met in real life"?

Every one that I have met (there are a lot of Mudcatters in the D.C. area) has been great. I see myself as being more shy and bumbling in real life than here. That could be because real life socializing has to be practiced or it becomes rusty for me (work and family interactions are different). It could also only be a perception and often our perceptions of ourselves are not as others see us.

Anyway, Music and the Mudcat have become my refuge to some degree from my other life (I'm not sure which is "real" anymore). Consequently, I also wonder at times if I want them to mix. It is an interesting question.

I do know that nothing substitutes for actually meeting and sharing music and other things with people. I caught myself thinking last month that I couldn't go to an Autoharp club meeting and play music with people because it interfered with a Hearme sing. Then I hit myself in the head and asked myself what was I thinking.

We should all get out and share our music, interact with other people in the real world, excersize our socializing muscles! The Mudcat is great but it just isn't the same.

JAB


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:29 PM

I can't be bothered analysing. Suffice it to say that I take my cyberspace relationships as seriously as I take any other relationship and there are several people that I have never met and possibly never will that I consider to be very good friends.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:34 PM

I think most of us agree on the way others portray themselves and agree that most people at Mudcat are pretty much what you see. The question is in the manner we relate to that. Over time I find that my treatment or interactions with people here is also very similar to the way I react to similar personalities in 3-D. I don't know if that should be surprising. If we are the same person here we are in 3-D, then our actions and reactions within relationships should be similar.

I'm finding that to be true over time and in watching the normal ebb and flow of relationships among others, I'm pretty comfortable accepting it as fact. But then again, what the hell do I know?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 01:35 PM

Actually, I think we are just carrying on the Victorian tradition of letter writing, only in a very immediate time frame. Frequently, strong and lasting friendships were formed during that era, between people who never met.

With the advent of the telephone, we went through a long period, when communication with the written word fell into disuse and the need for literacy, in order to communicate, markedly dimminished.

I think this is great. This brings a higher level of thought and focus into what we are communicating and in time, the ease and fluidity with which we communicate verbally, will combine with the new fluency in the written word. This minor rennaissance may make us feel less like idiots. And in fact, we may become less like idiots. May all our digital dictionaries be leatherbound.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 02:06 PM

Love that analogy, Metchosin.

Jon, I agree with you in honouring these freindship by taking them as seriously as 3-D ones (thanks, Spaw, much prefer that to "meat world"*BG*)

Bonnie, I just emntioned this in an email to you: some of you with whom I have develeped a "cyber-friendship" with, know me much better than some of my family members. I share much more with some of you, I think mostly because there are no entwined family agendas. For instance, if a certain two of my sisters knew I wasn't feeling well, they would go totally off the deep end, call in all the forces of prayer they know of, etc (without asking my permission or without my asking them to) and most importantly, assume the worst. They do this because they don't trust me to tell them when something is going on. I don't tell them because I know this will be their reaction, a real Catch-22.

Conversely, I know I can contact a few of you, ask for help and not have any strings attached, no histrionics, just simple, heartfelt support of love and friendship, much as my Victorian grandmother may have done, as Metchosin suggests above, for one of her *distant* friends.

Thank you all for this beauty of friendship and love.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 02:41 PM

Spaw, I don't believe you would act in public the way you act on the 'Cat! No way!!! :>))


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM

Interesting thought Amos and of course to some degree true. It is relevant to the place and the situation, just as it is here. If your question is, do I often act that way given the same or similar situations as here...yes, I do. Do I enjoy cutting on other people and self-deprecating humor....yep. Put me in a social situation with the same group as I do that with here ind make it 3-D...yeah, I am the same guy. I try to act better in public situations and I'm capable of carrying on as a reasonable person would......but if I'm as generally relaxed as I am here and know the group.....well, HERE'S CATSPAW!!! I spent a long weekend with Karen's family being normal or whatever and Karen commented that it really wasn't me.

Everything becomes relevant to the situation I'm involved in and I suspect that's equally true of others. Do I enjoy doing and saying things which focus attention on me? Yep. Do I always do that here? No. Nor do I in 3-D. But given the right circumstance in either place....

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 03:02 PM

Well, I for one want to see it. So I'm sending you an invitatation to a 4th of July barbeque here in San Diego, with accomodations for you and Karen thrown in. I'll provide the beer. You bring the possum and those little yak buttons -- I understand they're great roasted, although they don't decode well afterwards. They just say things like Toad and his automobile dream -- oh, poot, poot poot....


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: MK
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 03:29 PM

Based on my online experiences (since being involved with electronic bulletein board systems aka BBSs throughout the 80s and graduating to the Internet in the early 90s) I was already acustomed to the chat and message thing..in fact when I first got onto the Internet, it was sort of yawn for me --like a B I G  bulletein board, or to paraphrase Bruce Springstein a gazillion channels with nothin' on --. I can however see the enourmous appeal and excitement of it to relative newcomers of this technology and can look no further to my own parents who are seniors and are absolutely enthralled at doing geniological searches, and corresponding with relatives via email half way around the world, and of course the web has blossomed in the past 5 years, where it is now the quintessential resource utility for whatever you can imagine. Can't beat that.

As for cyber friendships, IMHO those who are introverted and shy, and may not be the most effective communicators in person, thrive and tend to take the online cyber-relationships more seriously than others who perhaps have a more affable an engaging, and OPEN personality in real life.

People in cyber space will reveal the most intimate details, sides of personalities they'd never openly show, and thoughts to strangers whom they have never met, in a relatively quick period of time, perhaps because the anonymity of being behind a computer, shields them, from a tangeble in-person encounter.

...They'll tell you anything except how much money they earn a year.    8-)

If one accepts the fact that the internet and those that frequent it, are a microcosm of society in general, with all its faults and idiosyncracies of human contact, then it is no different being online than what we encounter in our day to day lives...

...BUT, as was stated here earlier, people can and choose to reveal selectively only those aspects of their personalities that they want the recipient to have, and from that formulate an opinion on the sender. This of course can be very manipulative, and sometimes with very deadly repercussions, as in pedophiles in chat rooms, Neo Nazi groups attempting to recruit new members, cyber-romances ending badly or worse upon human contact, stalking, etc..etc..

Personally, life is out THERE --in the real world, with real human contact and exchanges on a day to day basis. The internet is a utility and a communications device not unlike the telephone, but it is even less personal than talking on the phone...because you have this additional buffer of anonymity, and many capitalize on it...

If you are spending more than a few hours each day, on the internet and don't bother to eat, exercise proper hygene, and basically neglect the outside world, because you have only a sense of ''belonging'' and ''completenes'' when online --you have a very serious socal problem requiring treatment. I believe the professionals call this ''cyber-psychosis''. I would be willing to venture that there are at least a few individuals (without naming names) on this forum who suffer from this. (See a shrink and get some counselling.)

Mudcat would appear in many ways to be the exception rather than the norm, as far as the type of people who frequent it.

For the most part, it does seem to be what you see is what you get...and people would not be opening their homes for get-togethers with their cyber-friends, unless there was an underlying gut feeling that those that would come, are in fact decent, caring, honest people....but to me this is still a very risky and somewhat naive (but well-intentioned) gesture, and safety precautions should be taken.

I personally wouldn't do it, unless I knew exactly who was coming, and, if there were strangers coming that I had never met in person, I would want someone who I've already met and trust from a previous cyber relationship and who knows the strangers well enough to vouch for them. Anyone I didn't know, or have advance warning that they were coming, wouldn't get in.

Cyber friends should be explored on a unique and individual basis, and using all the normal screening criterion, defense mechanisms and street smarts one would apply in real life.

A loser online, is a loser in real life. ..and always go with you gut instinct when formulating impressions of those you meet online.

Ulterior motives are rampant.

My .001 cents anyway, and I recognize the cynicism of this post.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: WyoWoman
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 04:09 PM

Caution does not equal cynicism...


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 04:27 PM

Ulterior motives may be rampant in some newsgroups and BBS environments, especially those where the central theme is one of personal gain or self-importance or criminality (like a warez site), altho even theives have their own codes.

But this particular "exception to the rule" -- the Mudcat -- because of its central themes and its collection of strong and comapssionate personalities seems to be the reverse: honesty, humor, compassion and straight talk are far more rampant than ulterior motives.

I would say that in all the months i have been scanning the posts at the Cat I have seen less than 10% that I would associate with any underhanded impulse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: WyoWoman
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 04:39 PM

Define underhanded ...

(Isn't that the way a leftie plays the guitar?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: MK
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 04:48 PM

Agreed Amos....but everything in moderation, including the amount of time one spends online, communicating with Cyber friends, and developing cyber-relationships...and not embellishing them in one's own mind to the point where an expection level of the other, is so overblown it falls into the realm of fantasy, and few people can live up to the expectations of someone else's reality of what you really are. Email and chat forums are great vehicles for furthering and feeding that expectation, especially in younger people, and those lacking stability socially and emotionally in there day to day lives.

I see red flags online when an individual's needy-ness is manifested in their postings and emails, and an in-your-face compulsion to be accepted and RECOGNIZED by any cyber community they frequent through those postings. (I ignore them.)

(Thanks for re-phrasing my term, Wyo.)   8-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: The Beanster
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 04:50 PM

Long as this thread is, I just read the whole thing. So interesting. I can't wait until sociologists have enough data to really decipher what's going on in these "relationships." I would say that there are definitely friendships formed via cyberspace. Rick mentioned above that others have said this place is a bit cliquish--which I believe is true. But I also believe that occurs because (and Rick alluded to this, also) people just prefer to speak to those whom they already "know." Perfectly fine.

One of the major limitations of a forum such as this is, we all know that there must be folks out there who read these threads, but who rarely post anything. You have to admit that the level of intellect on here is sometimes very impressive and just as someone who feels socially inadequate in a real-life situation is likely to hang back, someone who feels not quite up to snuff on spelling, grammar, worth of contributions, humor, etc. may think twice about posting a note here. I think that's a great loss to us all, although there is no remedy for it. At least in "meatspace" (as you so eloquently call it!)(lol) there may be an opportunity to coax someone into the discussion, whereas in this forum, there is no effective way to do that. And so we're missing out on those people, unfortunately.

I must say, though, that I, personally, do not feel I form "friendships" via cyberspace, however, I do have strong schizoid (loner) personality features and have never felt the need for these. But I think it's obvious from reading your posts to each other that some of you feel significant affection for certain others. I believe you all when you say it's real and I think it's wonderful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM

For the record, in case some of what I posted is misconstrued, Spaw and I are two peas in a pod, what you see, hear, read, etc. is what you get, in 3D or cyberdom.

katlaughingforreal


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 05:06 PM

To be honest I think (and didn't mention above) that there is an element of telepathic awarerness that gets brought out in some people on a cyber-link -- the very breath of the individual comes through, while the recipient is simply staring at pixels in the strictest material sense, but this only happens in scattered instances. Or perhaps is only acknowledged to happen in scattered instances. Since most schools of psychology don't even admit of such a phenomenon, it is unlikely that aspect of cyber-affinities will ever get documented or researched.

There is certainly a lot more that could be said on that side of the question but I know you're all picking up the whole idea from me as you read this .......(faint background music from Twilight Zone....doodeedoodeedoodeedoodee.....) "God dammit, Mulder! What is happening here??!!!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 05:17 PM

Amos you have brought up such a good point.
Sometimes I am so surprised at the telepathic awareness others have with me. They seem to know exactly what to say to me and when to say it.
I also seem to timely find the exact thread I need read or I come in right after an important posting I would like to respond to.
Sometimes this telepathy is shocking.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 05:46 PM

More you resist it, the shockinger it'll be when it happens, I guess -- and contrariwise, too!


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: TerriM
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM

I think there is a lot to be said for NOT having the other baggage that comes along with usual social interaction, judgements about appearance, accent, body language etc. I think it leaves you free to a) judge what you are hearing/seeing on it's merits as pure communication and b)to say what you feel without those you are "speaking" to,wondering about your appearance etc. and how you are being judged. The validity of the interaction is in the thought/written word only which is unique in human relations, not more or less of value, but different.But then, I have just got in from the pub!


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 06:38 PM

Lots of good points...

Certainly where you meet cyberfriends can make a big difference as to who they are...how real (honest) they are...Mudcatters have a real and serious common interest in music...chat rooms can be playing with TNT!

I have some cyber friends whom I converse with though there is not as strong a tie as with my in-person friends...I always take a bit of extra caution with online stuff...though at Mudcat I sometimes let my hair down, as they say.

Then I go and truly surprise myself and develop on remarkable cyber friendship--built first due to a common interest in Irish Music...but led into tons of other common interests. This friendship has since has regular postal communications, phone calls, and other internet communications that are available...I never thought I would become so fond of a person I have never met in person, but hope and pray that someday I will...

When you really think about it, there are lots of nutcases that people meet in the "real world" with out knowing it at first. So, in-person doesn't always guarantee "real", "true", "lasting", "honest".....Volumes could be written about all the different types/means of friendship nowadays.

In any situation, online or in real life everyone needs to be cautious to a point.

As for Mudcat, I think it a pretty safe haven...especially since there are lots of "regulars"...who pull together in various situations.

Mary Kate


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Mbo
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 06:45 PM

I love you all!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: bbc
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 07:17 PM

My two cents worth--I have met quite a few Mudcatters in person & it felt just like we were picking up in the middle of a conversation. We started w/ smiles & hugs, because we already knew each other in the most important sense--what we valued & how our minds worked. No one I've met has seemed out of character from what I've expected & there are a bunch of Mudcatters I dearly love who I am really looking forward to meeting in person. I guess this doesn't seem as strange to me as it does to some folks since I met my fiance over the Internet & formed my 1st bond w/ him mind to mind before I ever saw his body & gazed into his eyes or even heard his voice on the phone.

In answer to Michael K--I have had an open Mudcat get-together at my home. Yes, opening your home to strangers involves some risk, as do many things in life. I can only report that I chose to do so & had no bad result. People were friendly, tidy, & we had a wonderful time together. Hope to be doing it again in the future!

love,

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 07:25 PM

I think I'll wait and go last!

I'm busy building up the relationships we're talking about in this thread.

If any of you with whom I am co-building them wants to say more about how that's going, have at it. You know who you are!

~Wartlovin' Babe


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 07:26 PM

I agree with most of the comments above and value all of the individuals but I do not think this forum is well designed for furthering personal friendships. There are so many better ways of doing this and it causes a lot of irritation, when these methods are not used.

Further to the point that Beanster made about those individuals who do not post as often as the folk that have contributed to this thread to date. If you look at the list of posters that have, they probably would constitute what the majority of Mudcatter's may consider to represent a clique, inner core, the most frequent posters or whatever, if such a thing exists..

This perception would be perfectly understandable, mainly because these posters, some more than others, insist on conducting their friendships, publicly on the forum.

I am sorry to be a wet blanket, but I, and I am sure others, have good friends here but do not see the need to constantly display that friendship publicly on the forum. Why should anyone be interested in seeing how friendly you are? If you are friends, great, just get on with it. These public displays are irresistible to the sad individuals that bother The Mudcat from time to time. It is like a 'red rag to a bull'.

I would hate to see a completely dry and impersonal forum but I do feel there is a balance to be reached.

I feel that on the forum, it is always more important what is being said, rather than, who is saying it. In a chat room it may be different?


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 08:51 PM

Cyber relationship is human relationship, but it might be what marketeers would call "human relationship-lite."

Good thought in this thread, and I must say that I believe relations here are pretty much straight forward and 'real.' I see the same strengths, weaknesses and wonderful human qualities in my Mudcat acquaintances as I do in the real world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 09:18 PM

Shambles, if I were to not publicly display my friendship to others by verbally expressing to them how much I appreciate them and what they mean to me, well then I would not be being myself.
I am a personal type person, anything other than that would make me feel very uncomfortable.
If I had to stop publicly displaying my affection for others, I would end up not posting very often.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: Mbo
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 10:18 PM

Testify, Sister Neo!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: rangeroger
Date: 19 Mar 00 - 11:30 PM

As this is my first attempt at maintaining cyber-relationships I can only say I enjoy it.I think most of that is due to the Mudcat being what it is.
All of my cyber-friendships have been with friends already made.Using e-mail to communicate.I can't say I have any close friends here yet,but you are all friends.
Te other night Praise I and sent some messages to each other and she made the comment, "I think I passed you I the hall"
I knew exactly what she meant.The Mudcat,to me,seems like one of those weeklong pickin' parties where you've just met everyone, but after a couple of hours you are family.
At Strawberry Music Festival I have friends whom I only see twice a year.Thanks to the internet I now communicate with them a lot more.
I'm not much of a letter writer,and I hate long conversations on the phone if it is just chit-chat.I find that the commonality of music creates a lot stronger bond between people than anything else I've seen.And except for one or two notable exceptions I would have all of you to my house.
And even those exceptions wouyld be welcomed until their actions caused me to think otherwise.
rr


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 20 Mar 00 - 12:10 AM

There is definitely a place for public postings and private postings. I try to use both. What I've found is that the Internet, ICQ, Mudcat, e-mail is ok for having cyber aquaintences.

It really ENHANCES some of my friendships where I know the person in both worlds.

It's like writing quick letters back and forth. A little more thoughful than being on the phone. Not quite as formal as snail mail. I'm not one to talk on the phone a lot, but much of the chat here is just that. It's like we are sitting around a big lunchroom shooting the breeze. Better in person, but ok on cyberspace too.

JAB.


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: ceitagh
Date: 20 Mar 00 - 12:39 AM

I read this entire thread (even tho i really should be going to bed about now) because I find the topic so fascinating, and you guys have some great things to say. Personally, i've been on the 'net 4 or 5 years, and in that time the only people i've consistantly corresponded with are the ones whom I know in real life. I don't know what this says about the quality of my cyber-friendships, tho i do know it corresponds with my personality- I'm not very good with high-maintenance friendships because my time-demands keep shifting.

I think cyberfriendships are easy to start....to a certain extent, it is easier to find people with common interests, and we are more open on the 'net. But when your common interest disappears, so does the tie that keeps you together, because unlike a 3-D relationship, you don't have the ties of location, common experience and just being together and doing things together to flesh out the friendship beyond commonality.

I'm incredibly open, as a rule, and the internet makes it even easier for me to be that way because i don't have to see who i'm talking to. I have one cyber-buddy who has talked me thru every crisis the past 3 years, with kindness and sensitivity. I see him rarely, and it is odd when i do see him, because while i can see how he is the same (kind, generous, etc.) he is also a stranger to me. Our lives are completely different, and we are awkward and unsure with each other off-line.

I guess what i'm trying to say is that i think cyberfriendships only cover part of the territory, but maybe a part that a lot of 3D friendships could benefit from. Despite all the stuff about "only seeing what you're shown", i find that what characterises cyberfriendships is honesty and intimacy...something day to day relationships can lack 'cause we're so dad-blamed busy trying to impress each other. .

darn...i've still got more to say. but this is enough, i think.

ceit


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Subject: RE: BS: Cyberspace Friendships
From: GUEST,Homeless (somewhere else)
Date: 20 Mar 00 - 12:45 AM

I've just read thru this (fairly long) thread and noticed a few things I'd like to comment on.

I noticed the 'cliquiness' of the Mudcat within the first couple days of lurking, but upon closer observation I've seen that the people that comprise the cliques are usually people that have the same interests. I.e. when you ask a question or make a post about a specific topic, you usually see the same names answer as did in the last thread on that topic. It's more of knowledge-area question than an actual you-don't-belong-in-our-group kind of thing in my opinion. The same goes for the BS threads - you see a lot of the same names there.

I tend to agree with thought that the personality expressed on Mudcat (not necessarily anywhere else on=line) is a reflection of the person's real personality. I know I for one am that way. I usually don't have much to say, I don't chat on the phone or BS usually. But when I have something to say, I figure it out, say it, and be done with it. My posts tend to be that way too (at least IMO). I don't post unless I have something constructive to add to the thread.

Just my opinion, but I theorize that one of the reasons that some people can be more open on-line is that many of the "filters" that we live with and affect our daily communications are done away with here. Appearance was mention earlier in regards to dealing with people. There are also things like social class that aren't apparent either. In this online world of only words, that lacks so many of the visual cues that we subconsciouly process, I can approach and ask a question without people cowering in fear because I just dismounted a Harley and am covered in tattoos. I can also put forth my opinions and conjectures and have them not rejected immediately. Going the other way, I would probably be to intimidated by someone like Rick Fielding to approach him with a question in person. I would feel that he was too much of a "master" at his art to want to bother him. Other than Rick, I've not gotten enough of an impression of anyone's skills to be uncomfortable asking a question of a specific person.

To address the "friends saying how much they like each other" issue... This is another time where it seems that cyber-lives mimic the offline life. Like Shambles, this, to me, is an annoyance. But it annoys me in the physical world too. I know many people that (need to) validate each other, continually. (One of the reasons I'm in the midst of a divorce is because my wife is a validator, and I'm not.)

To say that spending many hours on-line, specifically at Mudcat, is the symptom of a condition for which one needs counseling is a bit strong. Spending hours here should be viewed as a symptom-not as dis-ease in itself. The reason for the symptom needs to be analyzed, and only then should it be determined if help is needed.
Granted, one should have balance in one's life, but there is not always the resource to find persons with common interests in one's geographic area. I know of 1 other person in this town who is into folk music, and due to a new baby, he's currently unavailable for much social interaction. Besides which, tThe time I spend on-line reading various ideas on a wide variety of topics is much more educational that any college class I've gone to.
What we build here, especially among the 'cliques', ARE personal relationships. Not the same as we would in a face-to-face situation, but not all of those are the same either. I used to dance a couple times a week and always saw the same people. There was one lady in particular who I enjoyed having as a partner. I thought that we had a lot in common and enjoyed each other's presence, but after spending a couple days together found we didn't much care for each other's off-the-dancefloor personalities. So even physical, limited relationships can be misleading at times.
And building relationships, cyber or not, IMO is much preferred to spending hours behind a Nintendo or television.

Amos - I've never met Spaw, but I'd bet he does act that way - I work in an office of 14 guys, 8+ of which are that way.

Spaw - if you ever want to meet a few guys that would fit in with your tastes in humor, and give you a run for the money on quick come-backs, feel free to drop by.

Michael K - 33k


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