I think you are right Mell, “Irony doesn’t travel across the internet”. Irony which of course is intimately linked to sarcasm and the fine line between its good self and wit; which can easily be lost in translation when one lacks the context of timing, tone, and expression. If I may add an anthropological perspective; the most difficult thing to learn about another culture is the humor, but once you have that down, you’re sorted (in theory).
Incidentally, I always find myself using ;-) more than I really like to leave the element of doubt hanging out there, because I often wonder that without it people may misconstrue the “ humor” or even not see it at all;-)
On the separate point of Monkeys and Spheres; I do agree somewhat with the “danger” of anonymity on the internet – or more academically, perhaps I’m afraid of the image we see looking back at us when we are able to see into people’s actions when they think they are performing them anonymously. I saw an advertisement on the television the other day about some fitness freak that spends his whole time in the gym and he said “You can judge a person by what he does when nobody else is watching”. I felt that was a pretty damning indictment - immediately thinking of the internet - since it seems nowadays every time I want to watch live sport on the internet (whilst I should be writing my thesis, I might add!) It doesn’t take long for the two “sides” to degenerate into some pretty disgusting sectarian vitriol.
I have often wondered why people talk to people on the net in ways that they would never consider talking to them face-to-face; which leads me to wonder (part of the theoretical framework for my own research is how people socially “perform” when interacting with one another) what people we meet daily really have going on inside their heads, behind
the performance, or the "shackles" of face-to-face contact.
The Facebook friends/twitter thing is another phenomenon entirely; since it has exploded onto the scene so suddenly and with such force I think we are struggling to grapple with it fully as a social phenomena, and I am sure there are academics around the world from varying disciplines clambering to study it as we speak. I think the results will say something salient about who we are.
“I have never considered people I meet on the internet any differently to people I meet elsewhere. I have many friends who began as penfriends…” Anna.
I met my wife on the internet. Actually via Travelblog! (though I should add, we have met in person since we were married)
And, Anna - to your previous post about why people quite blogging, I think some of the answer to that may be discovered in the reasons people choose to start blogging in the first place.
Anyway I should get back to writing my thesis, oh and of course living my life vicariously through Charlie Sheen;-) < see!