Random IM musings...

Adam L. Beberg beberg@mithral.com
Fri, 24 Aug 2001 20:26:40 -0700 (PDT)


So I was chatting with my roomie today about how my "buddy lists" on the
many systems I frequent have shrunk over the years, as systems have changed
and dumbed down.

And I ponder the following...

IM systems are inherantly less of a social system then the old BBS/MUDD/IRC.

By social I mean putting people in the same "space" that wouldn't be
otherwise.

The old:
--------
The "archaic" systems, where you were basicly in a big chat room with
everyone on the system, when you looked at your "buddy list" it was everyone
on the system. Some systems supported a friends list where you could put
maybe 10 of your best friends on a list to be highlighted, but you still got
the whole list. If someone misbehaived, the admin punished or booted them
off, so the system stayed friendly.

vs.

The New:
--------
Here is how I see people using IM - they add their friends and family and
classmates to their buddy lists, and talk to them online. The search
features basicly allow people to seek out people just like themselves. The
only social thing is the chat room, where females are quickly driven off by
straight men, and straight men are quickly driven off by the gay men - it's
damn hostile within milliseconds. There is no "punishment"  mechanism (or
admin). Since social situations are nonlinear, it's preaty much guaranteed
to remain this way, anyone decent being driven off in a hurry.

So basicly the new has enhanced the ability to talk to people I already
know, and completely destroyed any social mechanisms. Has anyone else
noticed this?

- Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
  http://www.iit.edu/~beberg/
  beberg@mithral.com