Archive for January, 2010

January 1, 2010

Acquaintances, Strangers, and Somewhere In Between

He introduces himself as a different person, a different history, a different life. Bending the aspects of what he constructs himself as he wants to be… His ideal “me”…

The anonymous web based chat engine, Omegle, creates the perfect atmosphere for perverts and boredom victims alike. Encouraging people to talk to strangers, without thinking of any consequences: morally, socially, even legally since all is anonymous. The unnamed protagonist in fight club showed the imagery of how people we barely know open up and be honest (referring to the help group scene). The degree of unfamiliarity in its relation to honesty actually tends to create this pattern: the more you are unfamiliar with someone, the easier it is to be honest and open up. Here said that the more we tend to realize the fact that this person we talk to wont be staying very long, we assume that there is a tendency of our stories being of unimportance, hence more easily forgotten.

Omegle puts the user in a position where we should talk to strangers, share information – even if it is just lies, because the norms that are the foundation of Omegle does say so, even if it isn’t in writing. The anonymity of the user borders shame into ever entering the plains of Omegle, we are anything we want to be – which gives way for the so called pervs and freaks – and we are protected (for both sides) by a thick metaphorical curtain. Here we find that without identity, people break off the social stratification and form what Marx dreamed as a classless society. Without identity there is no status or roles we must oblige to (or how Parsons states that man’s role determines his status), resulting in unlimited freedom creating borderless – even shameless – interactions between individuals (limited to two individuals caused by the nature of the program). IRCs and other forms of chat rooms gives us the freedom of anonymity by filling in a pseudonym (or nick as they call it), but Omegle takes it to another level. No information of your existence is provided, you cant even look up the opposite user’s IP address (that I know of).

A question revered, how often do we find comfort in being strangers, as equals unbound by the variety of status and roles? We as we define who we are, not by how others define us…