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second_guessing's avatar

What's your opinion on people who have replaced reality with internet?

Asked by second_guessing (923points) August 16th, 2010
18 responses
“Great Question” (8points)

I know of some who appear to live and breath everything that happens on on-line forums, who have substituted their own lives for an on-line persona. What is your view on this?

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Steve_A's avatar

Well it is likely not the healthiest thing if it is to such an extreme, but they could be doing worser things I suppose,and it is their life right?

partyparty's avatar

I suppose it depends on a persons circumstances. If they are housebound, disabled or lonely then the internet can be a much welcomed friend.
However, if someone spends all their waking hours on the internet, without seeking outside contact, then it can become an unhealthy way to spend their life.

stardust's avatar

Taking it to such an extreme can become unhealthy yes. I know one guy in particular who spends a huge amount of time online, even when in company via his high tech phone. It’s frustrating at times because it feels like he’s there in body only. However, it seems to keep him happy. I think it can be a relief for some people like @partyparty mentioned.

Cruiser's avatar

I have run into some people who just can’t find their stride in the real world for what ever reason(s). The internet affords them a rather safe and healthy way to express themselves they otherwise wouldn’t have. I think I would even go as far to say there is a little of that in most everyone here other wise why participate at the level many of us do?? But this is in no way replacing reality it is more of an escape from reality and that IMO is healthy to be able to do.

talljasperman's avatar

even the “comic book guy” from Simpsons has a life… and even I eat out and go for walks

wundayatta's avatar

People have obsessive realities all over the place. Right now, the (American) Football players are practicing obsessively with no mind to anything else. There are plenty of monomaniacs in business. Writers write obsessively—there are so many people doing so many different things that exclude just about everything else. Their obsessions become their world and their only society.

Your question implies that the internet is not reality. Certainly, it is not meat space, but it is reality. The internet is a real thing and provides a real way to interact with the world.

We are not face to face (unless we use video chat), and we are not voice to voice (unless we use internet telephone), but we are writer to writer, which is no different from many famous relationships in history. Only we are more, because it isn’t just dialog or even trialog; it is multilog.

Plus, we don’t interact purely in mind space. We can actually have visual representations of ourselves and our environment. We can share video, sound, and images in addition to words. We can reach out to so many more people than was ever possible in meat space. One begins to wonder whether meat space is healthy. All right, I didn’t really mean that. I’m just making a point.

I love interacting with people in meat space. I love the physicality of it. I love seeing people’s body language and hearing the tone of their voices and watching their faces. I like dancing and playing basketball and making music together. Although, with respect to recording music, it is now possible to form collaborations where the members of the band are distributed around the world. It’s the internet that allows that.

I love the internet because it allows me to write and it gives me instant access to an audience. I can see whether I matter or anyone thinks I say anything worth reading right away, rather than trying to find a publisher who is willing to publish, and then seeing if the book succeeds.

Most people, I believe, use the same “persona” online as they do in meat space. Of course it is somewhat different due to the use of a different medium for communication, but the motivations and opinions are still the same. Some do develop an online persona that is different from their meat space persona. I don’t know if that’s a problem or not. Some people in meat space also act—trying to be someone they are not.

I think the internet is a very useful thing. I don’t see that there is much difference in the content of people’s interactions online compared to meat space. I think there is a difference in the quantity of interactions and, to some degree, the quality of their interactions. Meat space, of course, is physical and provide more information, which greatly enhances those interactions. But meat space interactions often take place in writing or in sound only. So the internet is just an extension of these things and an improvement on what was there before, allowing more people to take advantage of technologies in order to interact more.

As such, it brings us together more—us being people around the world. It enhances understanding. It provides a way to build larger consensuses.

I would not say the internet is different from reality. It is just a new tool. It’s a better tool. Our lives are just as real as they ever were.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I never understand what people by this actual reality vs internet reality – it’s all a person’s reality and however they experience their life and their friends is their business – if you haven’t experienced true friendship through the internet, you’re missing out.

ucme's avatar

Well, difficult to pass judgement. I’d only be second guessing see ;¬}

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Ah….but do we know what reality is?

Are our lives real? Is the internet more real or less real than our human lives?

I don’t think of the internet as replacing anything…but as an extension of a different kind of reality….still “real” just on another level of interaction and beingness.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Not much, it’s their choice. It would upset me though if it happened to some close to me, because i’d feel sorry for them for missing out on other great and wonderful real life stuff. It would also seriously endanger a romantic relationship.

CMaz's avatar

The internet…

Land of the free home of the broken.

deni's avatar

I feel bad. It’s not a good replacement.

Void's avatar

@second_guessing, Your question is flawed because reality includes everything that is and has being, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. There is no such thing as replace or substituted in regards to reality.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t see it as any different from the avid sports enthusiast or soap opera fan, or any other TV show fan. It isn’t any different than an avid reader or hiker or goose lady (hee, hee) or any other focus on one special part of life as we know it.

le_inferno's avatar

I would understand. For a while, when I was 15–16, I used the Internet as an escape. In real life, I was an outcast. Overlooked, awkward, insignificant. But online? I was funny, witty, intelligent, popular, attractive, well-liked. It was a way more enjoyable place to spend my time. Online, I mattered. I had a voice. I got the attention and appreciation I felt I deserved. Online I first knew what it felt like for a guy to care about me romantically, what it felt like for people to really respect me, what it felt like to belong. It was a whole new world, and as soon as I got a taste of all of it, I didn’t want to stop. I wouldn’t say I “replaced reality,” or that I withdrew completely from “real life.” Simply that I preferred the Internet.

Coloma's avatar

The internet is no replacement for real life interaction.

But there are exceptions as mentioned, housebound, illness, disability, extreme lonliness, in which case it is a helpful outlet.

One of the reasons I no longer involve myself in online dating, I have found that many are only capable of online relating and fall woefully short when showing up in reality.

I am EXACTLY the same online as in real life, there is no duplicitious persona at work.

As many things go, the internet can be a mixed blessing and curse, depending on how it is used.

This is the only online forum I participate in and it is mostly for fun and amusement. :-)

Coloma's avatar


‘goose lady’.....lololol

zenele's avatar

You mean me? I do okay. I get sunshine every few days, and someone comes in to water me and the plants once a week. Fluther is home.

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