Innovate and Disrupt – With a Slant On Sociology

February 26, 2009

Will no inhibition virtual world impact/influence us in the physical world?

Filed under: anti-social, Network, sociology, virtual world — vsistla @ 5:27 am

When you go to a networking event or get together and you run into someone you know and they snub you for NO apparent reason – what would you do? Would you confront them right then and there to make peace or would you 2-parrots-dont-talk-mad-look-away3keep it to yourself even if it bothered you or reason out that there might be a valid justification for that person’s behavior and move on? Most of us end up choosing the later – keep that to ourselves and move on even if it bothered us to some extent.

Recently someone removed themselves from my Linkedin contact list. I realized that when I wanted to drop a note to say hi and see what that person is up to. Removing someone from your network – after accepting them once – on Linkedin or Facebook is as good as snubbing someone at a party or get two-monkeys-ignoringtogether in our real world. Should we follow a similar physical world protocol and move on or should we try to find out and then decide – either to make peace or move on?

While our response to such situations might vary based on the circumstances – ex girlfriend, disgruntled subordinate, rude neighbor, etc – we tend to be lot more audacious in the virtual world.

Last fifteen years in the virtual world showed that people show less inhibition than in the real life. For example, more people blog or write on the web than actually go to a podium and deliver a speech about the same topic. More people upload their silly videos than act silly on a stage or in public.

Virtual world is also lot less intrusive than the physical world. For example we can accept complete strangers as our friends or contacts in the online world where as complete opposite in the real world. One of the main reasons why Burger King’s campaign for a free whopper for every 10 deleted friends on Facebook took off so quickly (until Facebook pulled that out) is because of this laissez faire mentality in the virtual world.

Now the question is – will these habits or behavior in the virtual world influence our physical world? If so, in what way and how? Can we drop our inhibitions and be more audacious in the real world?

On the flip side …..

Over time will we start to emulate our real world behavior in the virtual world? Will the virtual world start to become as intrusive as the physical world in the future?

Thoughts on Ideation

What if social networking sites – LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace provide more options for people to communicate their emotions and true intentions?For example, I don’t want to connect/be friends with you anymore because we don’t have anything in common or you spam too much or don’t like your content or links, you are marrying my ex love, etc, etc.

It would be a good research area to investigate if the virtual mores are influencing our real life interactions and if so in a positive or negative way.

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2 Comments »

  1. I think it’s a really good idea.

    All the social nets have avoided this. In fact previously it was the case on linkedin that you had to email them to have a connection removed. Now, they have a better user experience but they warn;

    “These connections will not be notified that they have been removed”

    So the connection is told nothing. They will only find out if they look for you in their contact list and you are no longer there

    The issue could be that the social networks actually don’t want you to drop connections, so why make it a) easy or b) useful?. Although there is questionable value from having massive numbers of people connected to you, they measure performance based on the growth of the network and the number of connections..

    Comment by gordonmattey — February 28, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  2. You ask some very provocative questions. In my opinion, yes, the physical and virtual worlds will grow more similar. However, I think there will always be more reticence in the physical world to hurt or challenge a person to their face.

    Comment by glynis — February 28, 2009 @ 2:59 am


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