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"When someone asks me how I know someone and I say 'the Internet,' there is often a subtle pause, as if I had revealed we’d met through a benign but vaguely kinky hobby, like glassblowing class, maybe.

The first generation of digital natives are coming of age, but two strangers meeting online is still suspicious (with the exception of dating sites, whose bare utility has blunted most stigma). What’s more, online venues that encourage strangers to form lasting friendships are dying out. Forums and emailing are being replaced by Facebook, which was built on the premise that people would rather carefully populate their online life with just a handful of 'real' friends and shut out all the trolls, stalkers, and scammers.

Now that distrust of online strangers is embedded in the code of our most popular social network, it is becoming increasingly unlikely for people to interact with anyone online they don’t already know."

More details:
http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/dont-be-a-stranger/

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Iain Bartholomew's profile photoJosé Rosa's profile photoBashed Alam's profile photoSensen Wijaya's profile photo
87 comments
 
My wife is from somewhere on the internet.
Been married over 11 years now
 
LOL...because strangers that you actually shake hands with are far less likely to be weird creepers. 
 
I find this platform to run counter to that code. IMO.
 
u ever watch a glassblower create something in the shop.kinda cool,my first masterpiece i would try to build a bong or if were being politically correct[a water pipe]
 
Looks a lot like my Chromebook.  :D
 
I'm mostly curious how glassblowing is "vaguely kinky". I'm not even going to comment on the "increasingly unlikely" nonsense. 
 
You have no idea how great it has been for me to meet so many different people on Google+.
I make more connections on Google+ than I do on Facebook and Twitter combined.
 
It is like the Book of Daniel: knowledge shall increase and people shall travel to and fro.
 
Actually, I was able to meet an on-line friend "in the flesh" for the first time last night.  She flew in from Scotland for a few days. We shared a similar view on politics, religion, society, and a taste for humor. Others of her friends and family were there as well, and I now I have a new circle of friends. The evolution of social networking.
 
Sometimes I have to remind myself that people I only know online are real and don't just live in my phone... do you?
 
   Thanks for the thoughts, Rosa.  I think we all have to take what we can from the internet.

   One of the problems, that I see, is the volume of people that you're able to meet.  Both in person, and online, we can meet good honest people...and we can meet deceptive and destructive people. 

  For me, to meet somebody...means that I make a connection with them intellectually and/or emotionally.  I see no difference if I make that connection online or in person.  But I think there are drawbacks with each.

   In person, I obviously won't be meeting as many people...so this will reduce my chances of connecting with the number of people on many different interests.  People who I meet in person are easy to read, because we can look at body language, vocal tone, etc.  We will still have people who are destructive and disruptive to us in real life...but it can be easier to walk away from them (at times).  In real life people will still be deceptive, I think you will find a small percentage of people who are genuine in nearly all situations.  Online it may be more difficult to "read" someone...but with time this can be overcome with getting to know their writings.

   I know that a lot of people distrust their online acquaintances.  I would argue there's just as many phoney people around you in person...but they simply cannot exaggerate things to the degree that people could online. 

   I guess we each have to find the limits that we're comfortable.  For me, I feel an online person is no different than meeting someone in person.

  Take care!
 
Wow so many comments on this true but sincere post. All I know is on or off the computers it's always good to have friends and do what makes you happy. Life is to short. I'm a true believer of do what you want I like what I do 
 
I think that's the good thing about Google+. On Facebook all you see are post from close friends and people you know but aren't really your friends. On Google+ you tend to interact more with people you do not know, but share common interests with. This is probably the main reason I prefer Google+ as I would much rather read posts from people I don't know but share interests with than people I barely know and have nothing in common with at all.
 
I am a true story that online relationships can become real, I grew up when Internet started being a boom.  You create a character "online", you build up a personality and reveal things you wouldn't think you'd share or have in the real world, you become confident and sure of yourself, you meet that someone that believes in your "online self" you realize that you have the power to be that person, you discover the real you, when you come to this point with the other digital person, you are able to meet, demonstrate it and reveal to the world there are no barriers that stops you of being with someone, as crazy as it sounds.... My successful relationship -story changed my life and I would be able to do it again in the same way....
fan tai
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I'm with +Rachel Blum - how is the ancient art of glass blowing kinky?! :)
 
People people we all love the feeling on line dating friend friending . The Internet is just that another avenue of our nature the need to feel connected somehow wanted
 
How is glassblowing kinky? Just like it says: "Vaguely".
 
God get over the glass blowing thing people 
 
It's OK to meet someone on the internet, just not someone from the internet. There's a difference. Watch Catfish.
 
I'm not sure I entirely agree, although I'm not a typical internet user.  I meet new people through facebook all the time.. 
 
Manny my sister was just telling me about that show today. I guess if people are going to fall in love with someone on the internet they should speak to them via video chat first haha.
 
I love talking to people and saying "I twitter know him" they think I'm a goof. I'm closer to a lot of internet/xbox friends than I am with most people at my job, the bar, etc... I'm not ashamed. LOL
 
that may be the appeal of Facebook, you use the web in a "safe" environment, with only people you know and everybody knows, so nothing weird happens without everybody else you know offline knowing about it.
 
Stranger in the night (internet) exchanging......(you know Frank S. Song) there is always distrust online or offline.
The risk is equall online and offline!!!!!

 
glassblowing class kinky? That sounds dangerous! lol
 
Is the unknown our enemy? I believe I would not be conversing with you if I
did not feel your media perspective on the world holds a rare insight into
the industry. I would very much be interested to know how you see the world
as it is today xx.. My bond is my word.
 
I met one of my best friends on the Internet, years ago when I used to play mmo games but hey, can't knock getting a great friend out of it
 
+Rosa Golijan - check out +Ingress from +Niantic Project ... It encourages people to get out and cooperate in real life to achieve goals for their side. 
It's fun, you see lots of cool sites you may have missed otherwise, and you actually meet people in person (on both sides)... 
 
Uhhh...  I dunno.  And so I agree.  :D
 
I've been hanging with people online since the early 90's.

First it was IRC. That's Internet Relay Chat for you newbies. The FIRST social network that was built into the 'net from the word go.

Me and a few folks from AA found each other online. I did online recovery with them until I met another NA member.

It didn't take long until there was a bunch of us staying clean together in online meetings.

One day this guy from Philadelphia pipes up. He found our channel by accident. Then lurked for a while (in channel but not talking).

Finally, he admitted he wanted to get clean. We coached him into going to a F2F meeting. That's Face-to-Face as in IRL (In Real Life).

When he came back and said he'd gone to the meeting and planned to continue I cried. I'm welling up right now writing this.

Did he stay clean? Don't know, but he got a shot because of the 'net which is more than some people get.

NA & AA are still quietly doing very well. Yes, I'm still clean. Addiction still kills.

Jump-cut to today when we have some otherwise smart people so mesmerised by FaceHook they can't see social networking is neither new nor dominated by one network.

I go on FB when needed but generally avoid it if I can. As snobby as this sounds, I find the level of interaction here on G+ has the highest signal-to-noise ratio I've ever experienced.

It's the culture stupid. G+ does not tolerate hate, idiocy or blatant spam.

I follow upwards of 3,000 folks and some 2,100 follow me (go figure).

I've yet to see any serious flames wars that only end when someone invokes Hitler or Nazis.

Back in the day, one moron could tie up a MUD, NNTP group or IRC channel. Here they get reported and disappear.

Does anyone know Google is the only service provider that will allow you to collect, back up and even delete ALL the information they have about you?

So I get kinda irked when some pixel-stained scribe spends a few minutes on FB then passes an out-of-context judgement on social networking.

Since mid-November I've met over 70 people from Ingress, spent hours talking via various media, hours hanging out on the streets playing the game. They've come to my house, ridden in my car, eaten with me in restaurants. My life feels much richer for all that interaction.

Until I read this post it never ocurred to me to differentiate them from others because we met online.

 
I really (sadly) agree with you. I tend to prefer online interactions that encourage bringing new people into the fold. Google+ has resonated with me from day one in a way that Facebook never did simply because it is all about connecting with strangers -- potential new friends.
 
Further to my comments about removing your data from +Google .

Try getting a FaceBook or Twitter engineer to help you with the same task. #GoodLuck

The Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. We do this because we believe that you should be able to export any data that you create in (or import into) a product. We help and consult other engineering teams within Google on how to "liberate" their products. This is our mission statement:

Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.

http://www.dataliberation.org/
 
I have been finding friends online since the early 90's starting when I started using Yahoo Chat. A couple of those friends I still have today. I've met some great, like minded people online, yes a few crazy people too but overall I'd say it was a very positive experience.
Also, if we weren't all wanting to network and find new people with the same interests as us then why are we interacting with Rosa in the first place and why did any of us start following her? 
 
oh.  My sincere apologies to all then.  I didn't mean to be scary, only funny.
 
Some of my good friends are from an online game. I've known them since I was 12. I turn 21 this may. 
 
+Rosa Golijan i call a miscount.

Google plus is tailored around meeting new people, along with services like IRC and other things related. Forums are still doing just fine. and many more, "tech savvy" people are part of mailing lists.

What this article shows more is that the population of tech illiterate people don't know how to meet people online due to the mainstream marketing and marketed services being about distrust and otherwise.

back when the internet was just getting on its feet, people who knew what they were doing were using it, now its just anybody, and the average isnt really that great at using it as a community building location.
The internet hasnt changed, it just got another "community" of common non tech folk added to it.
 
I'd hope to say, there are more real people on either FB or G+ than their are wanna be's.
 
hmmm, organic communities add that je ne sais quoi which makes the play (interaction) seems more real and much sincere and we can capture the other person's emotions more vividly. 
 
I have a YouTube account and have been to several gatherings. I met many people, in person, this way. They're all just everyday people with a common interest. I never met anyone new through FB, though I have a FB account. Virtually everyone who is a friend of mine on FB is someone I knew or have come to know in person before they became my friend on FB.
 
The pendulum will swing back the other way, it's only a matter of time, and the right application.  The internet, as smartphones become fully realized, will become a powerful tool for us to connect with others and expand our real life networks.  The line between real life friends and internet friends will become so blurred that you won't remember, or be able to distinguish, whether you met the person in real life or on the internet.   You already have this to some extent with meetups, it will be even more so in 3-5 years.
 
Interesting point of view. 
 
Why limit urself to the people in ur immediate surrounding...if I can meet people from around the country and around the world then why not?! I have several friends I met online that made it into my Facebook as my friends we talk and discuss politics and even family issues... I'm not a very trusting person these relationships took a long time to forge but I def. Have about 3 people that I consider friends that I have never met in person.. A combination of faith in people, common sense and respect.. (Not denying that there are weirdos online)
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On line predators are very skilled at social networking.  They know how to play the vulnerabilities in a woman and/or a child, and will take the time and wait for the exact time, to pull them in.  Rosa, as 'CYBER SAVY' most woman and children think they are (of course, back in the day, it was called street smarts, except today, the streets have been replaced with websites) these guys know that gone are the days when people met, face to face, to check each other out.  Rosa, they're predatory demons that will steal your womanhood and steal your childhood, and they purposely look for those women and children who think that they can take care of themselves on line.  I should know.  I worked 30 yrs. in Law Enforcement, and the only therapy for monsters like these, are to be found permanently behind bars. 
 
It's very true. To interact online with someone we don't already know is a "should I" thing but by thinking positively all we can do is open our hearts to all the friends we can make online..
 
If we look at the cons! Hey, there are a lot. Don't worry be friendly..
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And that's why I think G+ is great, because it actively encourages people to meet strangers. :-) 
 
haha..i met my wife in MIRC..we have two children now..we're still together for 5 years n everything is fine
 
wait a minute..."carefully populate their online life"...that doesn't quite ring true considering the way some of the fb's try to get the whole of the internet onto their friends network!
 
I met my roommate and now good friend 7 years ago on MySpace.. The times are a changing.. 
 
I share more personal information on Facebook than elsewhere online so it's natural I'd be more discerning about who I share it with. I don't think that's a bad thing.
 
I wish I could "like" some of these comments. (First time here..)
 
Excellent article.  I remember being on AOL  and BBS's back before browsers were common and participating in online communities.  The fears were much the same except that the assumption was you would never meet "IRL".  When someone did try to make contact that was taboo.  I got the impression that everyone on AOL was deliberately misrepresenting themselves.  This was before sending jpegs was common.  I distinctly remember meeting someone who I exchanged physical photographs with.  Oh ye olden days.
 
internet also is a part of life
 
Mario:  The one thing that makes the internet so attractive, is the same thing that makes it difficult to Police, and that is its rapid rate of 'DAILY' growth.  If it's difficult for private users to keep up with this growth, it's many times more difficult for Law Enforcement to do so, and at the same time, the 'INTERNET CRIMINALS' adapt very well to this growth.  We canot totally rely on our government to protect internet usage, because if we demand that they do, then we kick open the door to censorship.  It seems to me that the private sector pride themselves more on how well versed we are in its usage, than on how well we safe guard its usage.  The directions to do so, is at our finger tips, and one more thing, don't think for one second, that government agencies aren't being plagued with these problems.  Mario, thank you for your comments and concerns, so please stay in touch. 
 
MARIO:  Cencorship is living in countries like North Korea, Cuba, China, Iran, Syria, to name a few.  It's when who you are and what you believe and support, DICTATES, EVERYTHING YOU"RE ALLOWED TO DO.   You don't have any rights, you are told what to do, you don't have a say or a vote in anything, and your life from dusk to dawn is completely controlled, because there is only one system, with strict obedience to it, or you are taken away to.........  Look what Pres. Clinton did in office, with lying to us about having his sexual encounters.  NO! MARIO.  Pres. Clinton didn't get censored, so don't worry about this happening to you.  My friend, there are steps we can take to protect our identity and our use of the internet, with most of them at no cost.  Look them up, they are there, PROTECT YOURSELF, IT CAN BE DONE.  My brother and sister VETS are dying, right now, in the middle east, so that we will have the freedom to do this.    Stay in touch, my friend.
 
Well I met my best friend pretending to be glassblowers for school
 
I have 31 great friends on Facebook. About 20% are people that I've never met in person. Another 20% are people that I have met in person but met online first. But I have no delusion that I am representative of any population.
 
I have already met IRL at least two people that I originally met here, and there are a bunch of others that I'd happily meet if I happen to be in their end of the woods. This is one of my favorite things about G+.
 
I find one of the inspiring aspects about the internet is that there is the opportunity to connect and communicate with people that would 100 years ago not be possible, at least with such immediacy. Bringing together a global network of people is to disrupt propaganda, prejudice and expose those who attempt to persist in harming other human life.
 
I think it's ultimately all about our motives; what sense do we want to give to a relationship? real or superficial? Lasting or lusting? The answer lies with each individual. 
 
Remember the term interpersonal relationships, well, that was suppose to mean face to face communication, "SIZING" that person up by what your 5 senses and your "GUT" told you.  We are fast losing those skills, and settling for the HI-TECH introductions/indoctrinations  to be made.  HI-TECH is to be used as a tool, not as a replacement.
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