Recently, one of my professors at school was talking about the internet. He mentioned that “our generation” was talking on the internet, and he said that we were so weird to think that qualified as real communication. He stopped short of calling us stupid. He went on, complaining about how it’s not real to talk to people on the internet, to play games with them, to make friends with them, etc. He said that they aren’t using their real name, they probably don’t even exist.
I figured, okay he might have a point. Anonymity makes people able to lie, that Nigerian Prince doesn’t really wants to give me money, and there are probably no sexy MILFs in my area that are desesperate to meet me. On some level, that makes sense. But honestly, if I play an online game with a random person, neither of us expects that the other’s in-game name is their real name, and we still enjoy the game. It feels real to me. If I show up to my professor’s class wearing a mask, nobody thinks the horse mask is my real face, and I’m still a real student listening to a real lecture.
I should also mention that I wouldn’t expect the old vs young mentality mentioned here and here. The teacher is pretty young (I’d guess 40-ish), and is a computer programming teacher. He definitely did not spend his life without computers and he probably understands them well today.
Then, the next week, he went further. He mentioned the deadline before which we have to make our teams for the final project. He also said that he saw on the class forum some posts by people who were looking for team mates. He then said that, as this was not real, if we did that, we’d end up in a bad team, and we would have more problems in the project. So basically, real people registered to a real course, using their real name (with the school-created account) on the official class forum looking for team mates were using fake communication, and that can’t work.
My first reaction was to dismiss this as a stupid idea. My second reaction was to ask myself, am I the stupid one in this situation? Nobody challenged him on that idea, but I didn’t either, so that doesn’t instantly mean approval. Is there some angle I can’t see?
I mean, I understand fully well that, because of human nature and some hormonal stuff, “real” face to face interaction usually helps relationships, especially friendship and romance. It’s probably also easier to understand each other in a team, body language and all. But in this case, it’s just finding other shy introverted computer people who haven’t found a team yet in order to make ours, and then work together face to face and online. Is there really something wrong with that?
I’d like to hear other opinions on this subject. I want to know if I’m being irrational, or if he is.
Also, just a little piece of nice general knowledge that I found when doing some research for this post (I try not to bullshit too much). I found that interesting.