What’s the essence?
It’s just Wednesday and it seems to me that all along this week will be hell, but no! Next week will be even worse. Now it’s the time not to stoop, but to stand up, like in one of Bob Marley’s song I’m chanting along „Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!„.
In such times I began my work on the sequent research paper in Cultural Anthropology and this time the topic is the Bulgarian Internet Forums. Hilarious and ironical at the same time! I, the person that blogs and posts at least a day somewhere in the cyberspace, has to write about namely that cyberspace. And more! To write in a manner that is academic! Somehow, I find it kind of difficult to write about that. For instance of the subtopics: „Techniques of verification; anonymous-legitimate; examples for validity; the idea of legitimacy in virtual communities“ – I can talk on this for hours, in technical details, but I don’t think that all the technical details that I might elaborate on will do it for the paper in the anthropological sense, which is expected to be presented.
Anyhow that academic task that I face made me ponder on the fact how much time I spent „virtually“. Recently, I read somewhere in a blog that for some people if you subtract the number of hours that this person eats, sleeps, baths, goes out with friends, the result that you will get will be the number of hours that this person spends on the Internet. Well, I suppose that this person very well might be me. I went on pondering to really take into account that recently most of the communications with my friends is over the net. Well, in most of these cases there are objective reasons for this, such as distances of over 9000 km, but still it is communication. Some might say that this communication is not like a real person communication, over a drink, chatting and all, but it is some form of communication that helps me keep in touch with my old buddies. In that sense the „touch“ with these buddies is virtual. Well, true indeed – till the moment they come back in Bulgaria (this moment is soon for most of them since the academic semesters in the US, UK and Germany finish earlier than here).
Another subtopic from the anthropological task, which also provoked some flashes in my mind, was the „characteristics of virtual communication: language, ethics, specifics“. In here the word „ethics“ grabbed my attention. Isn’t that in some sense the virtual world a little better than the real one? Or at least it seems that way. It looks like a true, unquestioned utopia, where everyone can meet anyone, talk, chat, exchange thought, discuss, etc. etc. etc. – we all know that. But in such an unreal work, in my view, there are not ethics at all. It’s more like a etiquette. True that ethics and etiquette are words of the same kin, but are quite different. In the virtual world you can barely tell (except in very small, almost closed communities) who is the bad and who is the good guy. Ethics is just not the term to use in here. Etiquette is better because above all users in various forums, blogs, chatboards, etc. follow a certain set of rules so that the focus of that cyberplace is kept and also, so that users are kept there (a.k.a. not following the „cyberplace etiquette“ may result of the user removal – and users know that.
So back on the topic. Virtual communication, virtual relation, virtual _____ (insert something in the blank), virtual world. Like in the The Hitchhiker