As the collective world turns on their computers, it is becoming increasingly important to know why they have decided to turn them on and what drives them while they are on. There have been several theories governing modern social society that can be translated rather precisely into the world of the Internet. The personality theories developed by John Atkinson, Abraham Maslow, Joseph Veroff, and Dan McAdams helps define the different shapes that people take while on the World Wide Web. In the following paper, I will discuss these theories, some of the social behavior that takes place on the Internet and the combination of the two into a cogent description of human drives on the Internet.
According to projected growth numbers, 132.75 million people will be using the Internet in some capacity this year. Although the methodology for each person and their individual destinations will be as varied as their own personalities, there remain certain basic, inescapable drives on the Internet that influence these factors. The Internet boasts a level of satisfaction that has not been previously met by any other means and it seemingly does so without a sense of social responsibility nor a reliable way to impede the potential moral collapse of its clientele. It could be debated that this reality is due in large part to the environment the Internet fosters. John W. Atkinson argued that the kind of activity a person becomes involved in depends on their immediate environment and the content of this activity is subject to the duration they spend in that environment. The Internet, in its current format, has functionally negated five of our six senses and has forced us to operate in surroundings that have almost exclusive control of our mental states. This produces a unique environment for Atkinson's theory to fester.
The issue of human drives on the Internet becomes even more clouded when considering the 40-year-old theory psychologist Abraham Maslow generated concerning the seven-step pyramid that supposedly specifies the hierarchy of needs we must satisfy to grow as an individual, the achievement versus power motivation theory articulated by Joseph Veroff, and Intimacy Motivation theorized by Dan McAdams. If the Internet has become a casing for an altogether new environment, then it would only seem suitable that the same structure governing motivation and needs, which influence this "breathing" world, would have at least some significance in it.
We can summarize all seven steps authored by Maslow using five basic levels. The first of these levels are physiological needs. Physiological needs are the biological as well as the psychological needs we must have to survive. Included in these needs are things such as food, shelter, survival instincts and the need for sexual procreation, which cultivates the sex drive. The second level contains our needs for safety and security. Safety needs are self-explanatory. Without a sense of...