You know, I'm listening to this guy on The Daily Show talk about how the Internet is so awful and...well, he obviously has read a lot of stuff because he's referring to stuff that goes on "these threads" and all, but honestly he just doesn't really seem to get it.
I think after all this time I've gotten to the point that the minute somebody starts saying things like "but where are you? You're just sitting at home in front of your computer! You're no one going nowhere and doing nothing! Talking to somebody on the phone is totally personal, but this is talking to phantoms!" I just have to dismiss them as people who don't get the Internet. I'm as interested as the next person in discussing the differences in Internet relationships and RL relationships, but if you're just waving your hand vaguely and saying, "It's like talking to a ghost!" then get back to me when you have a problem beyond just feeling weird about something new and different.
His suggestion that we project onto other people on the 'net because we can't see them is interesting and I think there could be some truth in that, but it's obviously not *all* people do when conversing on the 'net--nor is it something nobody does in person.
Sometimes it just strikes me that I'm pretty sure when I was a kid and people complained about TV they probably would have touted the superiority of the written word. Look at all that old correspondence that famous people used to write in the last century. So eloquent and impressive, is letter-writing." And now it's "You're talking to somebody but they're not actually in front of you! You can't see them-communicating through the written word doesn't work!"
I also find it ironic that he mentioned that story about the mother who drove the kid down the street to suicide with a fake Internet persona, just because the guy's obviously focusing on the fake Internet persona and not mentioning that this was actually a neighborhood feud that spilled onto the Internet. Iow, yes the Internet offered her a way to torment the girl while hiding behind a fake persona, but the problem was created face to face. In fact, a lot of big wanks look like weird neighborhood brawls--especially if your neighborhood was Salem, Mass. 1692.