21 November 2011
Is Anybody Out There?: The Value of Chat Groups on the Internet
In the modern world, where friendly mom-and-pop stores, PTA meetings, and pot-luck dinners
are being replaced by online bank tellers, drive-thru video stores, televised classrooms, and fast-food chains,
more and more people are feeling alienated and isolated (Blaken 9). They yearn for friends and interaction.
Since these needs cannot be met down the street, people are looking down the line (online
of course). The chat rooms on the Internet provide a place for people to meet, express
themselves, find support, or pass the time by engaging in friendly conversation (Smith 5). The possibilities for
communication are endless, but this optimism for "what could be" should be tempered by a look at "what is".
People exploring the chat rooms for intellectual stimulation and interesting discussions are likely to be
disappointed (Brown 8-10). The virtual reality has yet to filter out the bigotry and sadness that are all too
common in the real world (15). If the explorer preserves, however, he or she may find some happiness
by using the chat rooms (Brigade 85-90).