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  1. #1
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Default Forum Psych 102 : The Time Dilation Effect discussion

    To continue on from an earlier thread, the next topic in forum psychology/dynamics is that odd online phenomenon - Time Dilation.

    Anyone noticed that in an online community like this, a week of online development can contain a year of real life development. A relationship can feel 5 years old in 5 weeks. The proceeding of a mass drama can be like an entire civilisation's-worth of excitement in but a few days. I am reminded of a mod at another site who said that they "had been a moderator for a very very long time after just a year". Yet... in a real life environment, that would just be... meh.. a while.

    So... here are my thoughts why :

    1. The communication environment is way faster than real life because it is "freed up". So, things develop quickly because it doesn't rely or wait for people to meet physically and go through all that stuff involving coughing, staring at fingernails... waiting for the bus to arrive. An entire conversation can spread... like wildfire... amongst the population in minutes.

    2. The medium of communication is in itself way faster - one can digest through a skim reading, an entire conversation between two members in a fraction of the time it would take to sit and listen to them talk.

    3. There is an expectation of a fast paced moving environment. People don't bring as many hierarchies and preconceptions with them as real life, and as a result ideas and concepts move without having to lumber past a government machine, a disbelieving populace.

    4. Intuition. This one is slightly controversial, but the majority of the forum members are intuitive. Intuitives are less bound by expectations of a sequential chain of events - ideas floated without the (admittedly healthy) need to be grounded in sensory fact. As a result they move quickly, even if to no great practical aim.

    Thoughts welcome! Even if to share time dilation experiences, as well as discuss the underlying mechanics

  2. #2
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Anyone noticed that in an online community like this, a week of online development can contain a year of real life development. A relationship can feel 5 years old in 5 weeks. The proceeding of a mass drama can be like an entire civilisation's-worth of excitement in but a few days. I am reminded of a mod at another site who said that they "had been a moderator for a very very long time after just a year". Yet... in a real life environment, that would just be... meh.. a while.
    Online, everyone is essentially "there" every step of the way, because they have access to all the posts, and can catch up in a matter of minutes, so what this does is make it feel like you are all together in something very real and active, where everything that happens can affect you. Given this, all of the things that can happen in a matter of time online are much more interesting than all of the things that happen in that same amount of time IRL, because on a forum, when things go down, we are all experiencing it, so it is like .. like you mentioned before.. it is like a secret society. I can't really explain it.

  3. #3
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Elaborating on what Dana said... all the information is right there for people to read up on. What makes a group? People that share common believes? I think little tidbits of shared "common knowledge" within the group also helps in the closeness. The introductory period here on an online forum is greatly reduce precisely because if you want to know about things, you simply read up on it. In real life... that's not possible. You need to ask people to be "in the know"... yet you can't ask people everything.

  4. #4
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    Online, everyone is essentially "there" every step of the way, because they have access to all the posts, and can catch up in a matter of minutes, so what this does is make it feel like you are all together in something very real and active, where everything that happens can affect you. Given this, all of the things that can happen in a matter of time online are much more interesting than all of the things that happen in that same amount of time IRL, because on a forum, when things go down, we are all experiencing it, so it is like .. like you mentioned before.. it is like a secret society. I can't really explain it.
    Hmm.. like the forum is actually alive, and it's.. like an entity that lives through its members? That's how the "secret society" is visualised for me.

  5. #5
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Yes.

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I never really noticed this before. I've always appreciated the input of members here, but I've never felt like I'd known them longer than anyone in real life. I still wouldn't trust them as much as I would people I've been around in real life, even if I do end up knowing them better. It's kind of an odd split... trust and awareness of a person's basic approach to life is fostered more quickly by real interaction, and understanding/awareness of a person's thoughts, experiences, and feelings is fostered more quickly by internet interaction.

  7. #7
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    It might also help that people can know less about others online than they can know face to face, so people more quickly fill up on the information they can get.

    People also read a lot faster than they talk, so that likely speeds it up a bit as well.

    Overall, I haven't noticed that it things are sped up that much, since life in general seems to be going faster and I don't have a lot of social experience, though things do happen surprisingly quickly when I think back on them.

  8. #8
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I think the speed of relationship creation is also influenced by the fact that people aren't as afraid to express themselves to online strangers as they are to people in real life. This means that people gain access to more personal information about people in a shorter amount of time, resulting in an increased feeling of "knowing" someone.

    This is further enhanced by PM and rep comments. Someone talking to you one-on-one doesn't seem like as big of a deal, concerning relationship building, as PMs/rep comments/etc. that don't occur as often. People's interest in you is far more apparent.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

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    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  9. #9
    Senior Member Snowey1210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    I think the speed of relationship creation is also influenced by the fact that people aren't as afraid to express themselves to online strangers as they are to people in real life. This means that people gain access to more personal information about people in a shorter amount of time, resulting in an increased feeling of "knowing" someone.

    This is further enhanced by PM and rep comments. Someone talking to you one-on-one doesn't seem like as big of a deal, concerning relationship building, as PMs/rep comments/etc. that don't occur as often. People's interest in you is far more apparent.
    Beat me to it. Meeting people real life feels extremely difficult (I'm sure it isn't) to me as an introvert, and a forum essentially cuts out this issue. Discussion can also be non-linear so you can just pitch in when you like without needing to go through a set of conventions. Also the medium of text allows you to be very coherent in your input so things become clearer much earlier on.
    Good Dog Nigel

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  10. #10
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowey1210 View Post
    Beat me to it. Meeting people real life feels extremely difficult (I'm sure it isn't) to me as an introvert, and a forum essentially cuts out this issue. Discussion can also be non-linear so you can just pitch in when you like without needing to go through a set of conventions. Also the medium of text allows you to be very coherent in your input so things become clearer much earlier on.
    I think it depends from person to person.... I suppose it is more that those of us who frequent forums are typically those who prefer this form of communication and find it more coherent. Those who don't, aren't.

    I expect there is a "real life" time dilation effect for verbally driven communities and interactions (big scale partying and all) of which I am largely an outsider...

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