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Effect of Psychological Factors on Facebook (Virtual Relationship)

Overview of Facebook/Virtual Relationship:

Facebook is one of the most popular networks for socializing available to the public, there are very few individuals if any who have not heard of this website. Currently, Facebook has more than 64 million users that are active on their site and the site is not limited to the United States, it is worldwide. The amount of active users is constantly growing everyday as existing members encourage friends and family members to join the site as well. When it comes to the growing popularity of Facebook there are four main aspects of the site that contributes to their overwhelming popularity.

Analysis of Psychological Factor Impact:

The Internet has changed our world view and attitude, and sometimes we have no idea how to get the information which interested us without the Internet. Therefore it seems logical that the Internet has penetrated into such area of human relationships, as personal liking and love. Many dating sites offer to find a communication partner and start a relationship to everybody who wishes this.

The “exotic” quality of a virtual relation might be one factor that attracts some people. Using computers is a relatively new way to have an intimate relationship with someone. Because it occurs through this seemingly powerful and mysterious thing call the “internet” or “cyberspace”, it may feel exciting to some people. The lover’s presence enters your home (or office) without the person physically being there, which feels very magical. On a more down-to-earth level, people are drawn to cyber-romances for the same reasons they are drawn to “face-to-face” relationship – either they don’t have a “real-life” love relationship, or there is something missing in their “real-life” love relationship. On the internet, they may indeed find what they are missing. Or, because of the partial anonymity of cyberspace, which allows lots of room for fantasy and imagination, they may think they have found what they are missing.

1. The interaction can be asynchronous. It doesn’t have to occur in real time, so you can respond to your net-mate whenever you wish, at whatever pace you wish. That gives you time to think about what you want to say and to compose your reply exactly the way you want. This comes in very handy for those awkward or emotional situations in a relationship. Chat and instant messaging systems, which also involve typed text, are much more synchronous than e-mail and message boards.

2. The written dialogues of virtual communication may involve different mental mechanisms than in-person talk. It may reflect a distinct cognitive style that enables some people to be more expressive, subtle, organized, or creative in how they communicate. Some people feel that they can express themselves better in the written word.

3. Text-mediated relationships enable you to record the interactions by saving the typed-text messages. Essentially, you can preserve large chunks of the relationship with your online companion, maybe even the entire relationship if you only communicated via typed-text. At your leisure, you can review what you and your partner said, cherish important moments in the relationship, and reexamine misunderstandings and conflicts. In fact, if you want to get downright philosophical about it, you could make the argument that your complete archive of text communications with your net-mate.

4. Text relationships tend to result in what’s called the online disinhibition effect. Because they can’t be seen or heard, people may open up and say things that they normally wouldn’t say in-person. Self-disclosure and intimacy may be accelerated. Some even argue that a person’s true self is more likely to appear online than in-person, and surely that must enhance one’s relationships. This is a controversial claim, as is the very concept of a true self.

5. Lacking auditory and visual cues, the e-mail message, blog, or newsgroup post can be productively ambiguous in tone. When reading that typed message, there is a strong tendency to project – sometimes unconsciously – your own expectations, wishes, anxieties, and fears into what the person wrote. Psychoanalytic thinkers call this “transference.” Distorting the person’s intended meaning could lead to misunderstandings and conflict. It could stimulate counter transference reactions from your online partner. On the other hand, if you discuss your (mis)perceptions with your friend, you are revealing underlying (perhaps unconscious) elements of how you think and feel. In a sense, you are being more real with the other person, allowing a deeper relationship to form.

6. In cyberspace, especially in multimedia environments, we can “meet” people at some specified site and move with them from one visual setting to another. It feels a bit like “going places” with them. There also are lots of games we can play with others via the Internet – games that sometimes have an imaginary physical feeling to them. Then, of course, there’s cybersex, which often consists of talking in a sexual way with each other. That’s “doing” something, isn’t it?

Conclusion:

There are distinct advantages to the time-stretching, distance-shortening, and potentially fantasy-driven dimensions of virtual relationship. On the other hand, real life relationship have the advantage of touch, smell, taste, the complex integration of all the five senses, and a more robust potential to “do things with” other people.

So is the showdown a draw? People can and will continue to argue for their side of the debate. As for me, the acid test is a very simple one. As much as I respect and enjoy virtual relationships, I would be very unhappy if I could only relate to my family and closest friends via the Internet, even if sophisticated visual/auditory technology made it seem like actually being there with them. Cyberspace relating is a wonderful supplement to face-to-face meeting, but in the long run it’s not ultimately fulfilling as a substitute, especially when it comes to our most intimate relationships. Most people who develop close friendships and romances in cyberspace eventually want and need to meet their friend or lover in-person. And once they’ve done that, returning to cyberspace-relating can feel at least a tiny bit flat and incomplete, despite the effects of the online disinhibition effect.

In an ideal world, we could have it both ways. We could develop our relationships in-person and in cyberspace, thereby taking advantage of each realm. But we don’t always have the luxury of ideal circumstances. There will be some people who we can only or mostly meet in-person, and others only or mostly via the Internet. In the not too distance future, most people will have three types of social lives that will be distinct but overlapping. We’ll have friends, colleagues, and lovers whom we know only in-person, those whom we know only via the Internet, and those whom we know both in-person and online. Variety is the spice of life.

References:

  1. Top Reasons Why Facebook is So Popular (website: http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Reasons-Why-Facebook-is-So-Popular&id=1089087)
  2. Virtual Relationships (website: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friction/201106/virtual-relationships)
  3. Zbyněk Vybíral, David Šmahel, Radana Divínová “Growing up in Virtual Reality – Adolescents and the Internet”
  4. Yung-Cheng Shen, Chun-Yao Huang, Chia-Hsien Chu, and Hui-Chun Liao, “Virtual Community Loyalty: An Interpersonal- Interaction Perspective”
  5. Kay Lancefield, “Virtual Worlds – Real Learning! A psychological perspective”
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About Md. Moulude Hossain

FinTech | AVP, Business Development KONA Software Lab Limited

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