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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Chatting On Line

I have no idea of the actual numbers of people around the world who are at this minute, typing away at their PC’s chatting on line with people they have never met and never will meet - in all probability. However if the total number shown at the foot of my Skype box for total users on line is any guide, then it will be a substantial percentage of that number, which now as I write is 4,524,889, plus all those using other service providers world wide.

I realise that the Internet is used for all sorts of dubious purposes and that sex and images of sex do make up a huge part of total Internet traffic but there is a genuine and interesting social interaction going on with one to one chat. It is in fact a cultural phenomenon that is, in my opinion allowing people to learn about each other’s cultures, lifestyles and interests in ways never before possible. Ordinary people are talking with other ordinary people, often the other side of the world. Naturally there is a bias towards the “haves” rather than the “have-nots” as it needs an Internet connected computer to join in. Then it needs a little bit of expertise to know what to do to find people with whom to chat and not all computer users feel comfortable doing that. I am one who does feel comfortable chatting with strangers on line; and I get a sense, at an early stage, that the other person is, or is not, someone I can have an interesting conversation with. Several times I have been messaged by people whose only conversation is “Hi, how are you? They want to chat, but the words just don’t come and especially if their on line profile tells me nothing, I get bored by writing back “Ok tell me about yourself, where are you, what are you, how old are you, what do you do? It is necessary for effective communications for people to have posted in a profile, answers to all these questions and more. Profiles should allow one to see immediately a person's main interests and preferred language and a lack of profile might mean that the person has a lot he or she wants to hide.

I would not be on line at all if I could not learn from the Internet, I don’t use it as a game, but as a tool to stimulate my mind and to learn from other people. I have made good and genuine friends with people who are able to speak, or are learning to speak English and these are the kinds of friends who have something to say about themselves, their lives and their countries. I remain fascinated!

As a finish to this post – a special thanks to my friends – they know who they are! - in Hungary, India, Poland, Germany, Austria, Washington, Iowa, Texas, Ontario, British Columbia, China, Taiwan, Sardinia, Lithuania, Philippines, South Africa, and I’m sorry if I’ve missed any off the list.

This is probably my last post for a few days as I’m off on holiday to Yorkshire until the 22nd September. Watch out for my photos after that – OK?


Anonymous said...

Dear John!
Jou have given to me very much of you. I am very grateful to you for it! You have made it possible for me to have the feeling that I am a special person. I must be a special person because I have a special, unique friend like you.
I am very happy that you did not ignore me at the first time we met.

Warm thanks!

Ibolya from Hungary

Vibha Patil said...

Dear John,
I enjoyed reading your article. It is true, what a world, strangers meet, become friends, wait for one another not on streets, shops etc, but from across seas. The words clicked makes them smile, get encouraged...
I can decipher Chat as
communicate, healthily, affectionately, and timely.


Anonymous said...

Dear John,
you are perfeclty right and I have to thank you for chatting with me :-) !

Silvia from Sardinia