Chat rooms for middle aged adults
Webcams vary from rather static landscape views (our university has one which is pointed at the sky for weather enthusiasts) to sites apparently managed by young girls who adopt provocative poses and post lists of presents they would like to receive.
The trend seems to be increasingly for such sites to become participative and interactive, Anyone can keep a Weblog—and anyone can read it and respond.
Chatrooms, in particular, combine the closeness and directness of the personal letter with the interactivity of the phone conversation, so sidestepping the contemporary obsession with personal appearance and liberating us from the constraints that this imposes.
Such conversations in the dark allow us to be reaffirmed in the images we have of ourselves rather than being constrained by our consciousness of all the shortcomings that others might see in us.
Here, using a small set of these interviews, which were made with students in a tutorial centre in Athens , we will describe how some young people use the Internet to make relationships with others, and particularly how young women and men use the net to meet and talk to one another.
As a place to meet and talk with strangers, one of the appeals of cyberspace lies in its visual silence.
The fact that in chatroom interactions nothing can be taken for granted, when taken to an extreme, creates a Wonderland that can be compelling.
Involvement in it can become the most ‘real’ world in which you act, as Sherry Turtle puts it, quoting one of her informants, ‘RL’ (‘Real Life’). Currently the sites where these experiments with the presentation of self are most common are in textbased chatrooms, but chatrooms are themselves changing, being linked to ‘reality TV’, becoming hybridised with SMS (text messaging) and extending into other forms.
Many of the young people we spoke to said that they found this continual uncertainty exhilarating and very different from most of their daytoday interactions with others (in ‘meat space’), in which role, status and rules constrain interaction within routine and highly predictable forms.
Chatrooms provide more than a stage for trying on new selves; the setting itself can become hyperreal, as all those who participate in it interact in the knowledge that ‘noone is quite who they say they are’.
This paper reports a small number of interviews with young people in Athens about their use of Internet chatrooms as a means of meeting people.
In the last few years there has been a growing public concern about the dangers of socialising with strangers in chatrooms, but what do the users themselves think about the risks involved, and what strategies have they adopted to manage these risks?
On the Internet, you are not restricted to trying on clothes, but can try on different names, origins, life histories, attitudes and opinions, different ways of relating to others, different ages and genders.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating