As I put my foot on the surface of the moon, the earth rose above the horizon. The sight of the small, blue and green ball filled me with wonder. The world has changed so much during the last century, especially when it comes to increasing globalization.
Today, there are so many amazing technological advances that allow the transmission of information around the world. It changes the education, business, communication and even lifestyles of people in every continent.
The last 30 years there has been an enormous expansion of international trade and tourism. You can without further problems reach around the world faster, and more cheaply than ever before, and this is a huge advantage for everyone; individuals, markets and firms.
Worldwide media communication has contributed to change the way we think and live. The disappearing international boundaries in commerce, technology, culture, religion, politics and environment make national borders no longer a barrier. Today, different ways of living is no reasons for isolation.
Such things as nature catastrophes and international accidents are also contributing to make the world seem smaller. Many nations work together in relief actions and relief work, but still I think technologies like cell phones, TV, satellites and the Internet is the greatest reason of why the world seems so small.
I think it is great that the world has taken this direction. The way of learning, living and working has become much better for almost everyone because of the technological advances. And as I look down on the planet Earth I am thinking that we all are members of the same community. The world has become a global village.
Chatting and dating on the Internet
The Virtual Worlds
It’s raining outside, but in here the sun is shining brightly. I’m walking peacefully on the beach of a tropic island while I am observing all the smiling people in their colorful bikinis and shorts. Some of them are swimming, while others are standing or sitting in groups, discussing daily things. Suddenly, a man named LovingLester is pricking me on my shoulder. “U wanna go on a date?”, he says. “Yeah”, I answer grinning. One second later we are sitting on a beautiful restaurant decorated with hearts and burning candles everywhere.
Doesn’t this sound like a dream-vacation or a beautiful day-dream? It’s neither. This is the modernized chatting-program called “There”. In this virtual world you can do almost everything: Go on dates, build a house, start a business, go shopping, or even get a family. The things you buy can be sent straight to your real home if you wish. Clothe-marks like Nike and Levi’s is examples of what you can buy.
Virtual Worlds are the future, the experts believe, and so do I. In these chat-rooms, just like the “old-fashioned”, you can be social no matter age, gender, religion or looks. You can choose every little detail in your looks, so the good-looking LovingLester may be a 50-year old vice principal from New Jersey.
The creators of Virtual Worlds have used means like 3D-graphics and surround-sound to make the world more attractive. Like other chat-rooms, you can talk one on one or you can join a group. There are many virtual chat-worlds, but “There” is one of the few you can join for free. The most popular chat-room today is “Second Life”. You can do the same things there, but everything costs money. Real money. If you pay 4 dollars you will get about 10 “therebucks” or whatever the coins is called, depending on which world you are in. A virtual t-shirt may cost about 3 therebucks, and a site may cost from 20-20 000 therebucks.
Virtual Worlds can be compared to alcohol. Some people can’t control themselves, and get addicted. From my point of view, I would say that the e-mail and the “old-fashioned” way of chatting are on their way out. The virtual worlds is getting more and more realistic every year. Maybe we one day can’t tell the difference? Why shouldn’t we live in a world we can control everything, like your partner and the weather? It’s a hard offer to resist.
Now, I have given you an insight in the new type of chat-rooms. In the following part I will tell about the “old-fashioned” ones, and try to express my thoughts about chatting and dating on the internet.
Chatting? Ok. But dating?
There are a lot of horror-stories connected to dating on the internet. People have met strangers who turned out to be rapists, psychologically disturbed and even murderers. These stories are being told to scare young people from chatting on the Internet, and, of course, to scare them from meeting the persons they meet there. As in any position of life, it is the bizarre, unbelievable and unusual headlines which is attracting. You seldom hear about successful dating and long-term relationships as a result of meeting on the Internet. This is resulting in that many people get scared immediately by the idea.
I want to focus on the positive of chatting and dating on the net. I do think there are more positive than negative arguments.
Yesterday, I searched on the key words “dating on the internet” at the web-site Google. It found hundreds of dating-sites, maybe thousands. It is truly amazing how many chat-rooms, message boards and dating-services there are. Few of the ones I found were about dating on the internet, they were all sites with chatting-rooms or advertises like “sweet, lively girl age 48, seeking wild, open-minded boy”. Most of them had attached a photo, often a tempting, sexy photo. But putting out advertises and chatting with strangers are two different things.
MSN messenger is one of the world’s most used chat-program. Nearly every teenager and many grown-ups are using it every day, though there are other well-used chat-rooms like “mIRC” and “fettnerd”. The Internet has become the new meeting-place among young people. They would rather prefer meeting their friends on the net, than hanging out with them. You can create your own nickname in all chat-rooms. At MSN messenger and many others you can create your own little “space” or profile or whatever it is called depending on the chatteroom, where you can put out your own pictures, notes, favorite music and diary. Everyone has access to your space or profile. I think MSN is so popular because it isn’t a chat-room for everyone who wants to join. You can decide yourself who you want in your “contact-list”. Most people are talking to their friends on this program, and are using other chat-rooms to meet strangers.
As mentioned before: talking to strangers on the net is “very dangerous”, referring to many parents and adults. But are the people you meet on the Internet different from others? People are people. In any given group there is a certain percentage which is psychologically scary, while others are too good to be true (watch out for these, they really are too good to be true). But as in every position of life, it is your job to screen out the bad ones and focus on the good ones. You find the same people online as anywhere else in the world like the grocery store, bars, schools, and even in church. It’s never any guarantee that anyone would live up to your expectations, though meeting people in person gives you a much more correct impression. There is never any safety guarantee in any dating scenario. The absolutely best protection you could use is common sense.
It is true that the anonymous nature of the Internet often encourages people to be more outrageous than otherwise. Lot of barriers is gone when you’re anonymous, and it is easy to become very intimate quite fast. To be anonymous is empowering. Many people get caught up in the moment, and say things they never would have said even though they were in a relationship. Internet is a positive experience for the ones who is afraid of being rejected or putting themselves on the line. If you say something stupid, you can literally disappear, a wish most of us have had at least once in our life.
Chatting can be positive for those who don’t have many friends “in the real world”. On the net there is always someone to chat with. You can talk about your secrets and problems without being afraid of it coming out. There are many chat-rooms for special groups of people like lesbian sites, suicidal sites, religious sites, dork sites, fat sites, etc. The number of sites is endless.
Some people are looking for someone to date on the Internet. Usually, you don’t meet the ideal person on his/her first contact. As always, dating is a numbers game. You may have to meet 10 people, or 30, or maybe even 100 before you find someone you get a connection with. It’s not easy finding the right one, neither on the Internet or otherwise, but the more people you meet, the better odds you get.
Many people think this “Internet-age” is much better and easier. If you were going to date as many as you can on Internet, on the “old-fashioned” way, you would have had a great deal of work.
It’s easy to come with some exaggerations while chatting. Little white lies as salary, jobs, look and marital status isn’t unusual. It’s very common to furnish a picture. There are not so many super models out there!
The Internet correspondence is degree fantasy. It’s wisely not having too many expectations when you decide to meet someone, because what will happen when the fantasy meats the reality?
If used wisely, the Internet can be very powerful and fun for dating, but you should stick to some basic rules:
1) Never give out your address.
2) Meet the person at a neutral location and consider making it group-meet.
3) As with any new person, take time to verify the veracity of what he/she tells you.
4) Take things slowly and act appropriately for a first date.
Maybe aren’t chatting and dating on the Internet as dangerous as people believe?
Illustrert Vitenskap nr 1/2005