The Hidden Dimensions Of ‘Cyber’ Culture

2119 words - 8 pages

The Hidden Dimensions of ‘Cyber’ Culture

It’s 10:30 pm. Everyone seems to be asleep, but not quite. Something
waits for me beyond the walls of my room. I sit on my swiveling chair,
and let the computer screen glow against my face. I launch the
internet browser and with just one click on My Favorites folder
(contains important saved links of sites), I have the home page of “JoliesNipple”
Forum in front of my eyes in no time. Meanwhile, MSN (instant
messenger) automatically logs me in obediently, letting know my
ingroup that I’m online and available for active interaction. I browse
through dozens of topics and responses of members that the forum
gained for the day. As a two-year old member, eventually, I’ll have to
figure out my contribution to most of these topics, something
necessary in order to maintain my rising status of popularity in the
group.

A forum is an online discussion group where members (fans) with common
interests exchange open messages and discussions. “JoliesNipple” Forum
consists of approximately 165 registered users, who are Angelina Jolie
dedicated fans. The ages of regular members mostly range from 14 to 27
years old. I myself have been a part of this troop for two years now.
From all over the world, we are all brought together with one reason -
our admiration for one actress. During the period of the group’s
existence, I have witnessed how it has evolved from specialized member
relationships and formal discussions about Ms. Jolie, to multi-colored
random conversations and warm concerns about each other. Forum
sections, where users can talk about anything besides the actress,
were created such as “General Discussions”. Logging on to the forum
wasn’t just about Angelina Jolie anymore, but also that sense of
intimate bonding began to emerge within. These people start to
influence each other, where the status of “popular” group members
shapes the roles played and the behaviors conformed within the group.

Joining the group is very easy and free of charge; however, gaining
the attention - being widely admired or accepted or sought after – is
something one has to work hard for. Through the result of personal
ability or successful competition, the person can win an “achieved”
status (Kendall). Starting as a low status new member, you receive the
label, “Newbie”. This person is usually known for his inexperience and
his questions that were probably asked a thousand times before, such
as the popular matter about how to post a picture. Every member needs
an avatar. Avatar refers to pictures, drawings or icons that the user
chooses to represent himself. This enables people to maintain partial
anonymity. Like attending a masquerade party, they are more relaxed
and free to do and say what pleases them with their masks on. After
about a week of trial and error of...

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