English proposal

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The research purpose

From the academic literature in the field of the internet and its influence on the individual, appears that the internet creates in the individual a sense of a different realty, a virtual experience that affects its life. In a world that is going toured alienation it is found that virtual relationships are good for the individual (Bromberg, 1996). They allow openness and true reviling of ones "true" self. They encourage intimacy and gives place in sharing things that otherwise wouldn't be shard. It is also found that these relationships are routine and legitimate because they include a sense of commitment, mutual dependence and understanding. Communication technologies leading by the internet helps bring "the citizen of the world" to a stage in which he is more free and humanitarian than educational, employment ional or social (Warschauer, 2000).

How, than, those virtual relationships influents the individual, his family, his friend? The purpose of this research is to examine whether there are ramification on the social life of the individual as a result of one's use of fabricated identity, and what those ramifications are. Whether an individual that is a member in a chat room turns into a more alienated person toured its close environment; doesn't he feels more need to communicate with his physical environment when he fulfills his social needs in-front of the computer; dose this kind of friendship can become anther catalyst in disassembly of the family cell; dose the sense of realty and the connection to realty becomes looser because of the membership in web forums. Or does it helps the individual to have better and closer relationships with his family and friends.

Many researches had been done on the subject of the influence of the internet on the social connections of the individual, and the different that has been created between "physical" friends and "virtual" friends. Although a different has been created, research show that individuals that use the internet frequently are spending more time with there family and friends (Kraut and coliges, 1998). In the early days of the internet people have responded negatively towards the social use of the internet, on-going research has shown relatively positive perception on the usage of internet (the growth of the social circle, as a solution to loneliness ets.)(McKenna, Green & Gleason, 2002). a study about the social ramifications of internet use on the individual, family life, friends and so forth has yet been done in Israel. Some of the different between Israel and the USA are that in Israel the anonymity is hard to accomplish. The culture in Israel is a culture of collective and in the USA the culture is more individualistic. And in Israel there’s no separation between state and religion as they have in the USA.

Theoretical background

The suggested research relays on the uses and contentment theory of Catz and Gurevich (1973). In the base of the theory stands the assumption that the individual uses the communication to satisfy his needs. This theory has six principles that explain the process that the individual is going thru while consuming communication: social and psychological sources that the individual is taking from them and developing expectations from the media. Those expectations leads to deferent exposure patterns towards the media and to the fulfilling the needs that leads to anther ramification. From that we can conclude that the individual is using the media in order to fulfill his social, psychological and even physiological needs. To that uses has ramifications on the individual and his environment thru the membership in any virtual community. From the article of Gamson et al. (1992), on the media images and the social construction of reality we see that the individual is a media consumer. He consumes the massage that the media wants to deliver to him, from their own reasons (economic, political and so forth), and turns into an active man, when he interpreted the massage that he received and not excepting the massage for granted. The individual creates for himself a subjective realty the way he understands her. The individual that is member in a virtual community, creates himself a new realty that is suited to the team membership terms the way it is suited to him, in order to create himself an easier realty to live in. in order to understand the difference between realty and fantasy and the ramification of internet use and forum membership we need to define the terms. For that we will use Lakan's definitions of symbolic, imaginary and real. Imaginary – seeing the realty thru a "mediator" that in fact the realty we experience is different from the real realty. Symbolic – the objects that are in the space that thru them the individual makes the connection to realty and some times thru them refers to the imaginary meanings of realty. Meaning, if the individual in the fantasy world will have elements that will connect him to the realty, he will identify the space as realty. Those elements are the symbolic. Real – what we see the factor. The individual expressing realty mostly thru different "mediators", there for he is experiencing the real realty in a very narrow way (Vanya, 2003). In internet forums the individual takes part in a group and he is a member thru a mediator thus he is not really a member. He uses symbolic objects in order to keep in touch with realty. Like: field of interest, introducing one's self thru an occupation, age but not necessarily thru sex and family status. One of the terms that was set in the age of using “the net” is “virtual communities”. This communities are a dynamic gathering of people that see there unique common characteristic as a base of solidarity (Van-Asaen, 2002). The literature gives us a number of reference to the new contacts that were made between people due to there internet attachment. Research show that this product of technology develops is, in fact, the possibility to create new relationships without the need to meet and physical contact. According to Bromberg (1996), it is found that participating in chat groups provides the individual physiological and personal needs, such as: comfort and encouragement in interactive communication thru the computer, exchanging identity from the daily identity, expressing and sharing sexual fantasy, and so forth. The individual can now chose to witch community he wants to belong and immediately feel apart (Song, 2002), to the users it is easer to shed mental blocks and express there “true self” on the internet and if close relationships will evolve they will even enter there “virtual” friends to there real life, and meet with them. It is also found that people prefer meetings on the internet than face to face (McKenna,Green & Gleason 2002). It is a later version of “the stranger in a train” theory by Rubin (1975), of sharing intimate details with a stranger that we hardly share with our closest friends and family. From the researches that were mentioned above we learned that the individual identity, in the internet era, becomes something diffrenet from what it once was. The individual creates himself a fabricated identity, that identity, may give him a sense of “real me” that is hidden from his off-line interactions (McKenna, Buffardi & Seidman, year?) and to that identity it is unavoidable to have some social ramifications, whether the individual dose not feel apart of something real and that rises some question marks about his identity and sense of belongingness; whether the individual disconnects/ reduces his personal contacts with his friends, because he found a substituted, and the sense of alienation is rising. People are less friendly and more computer mediator. The internet allows them to find other similary-minded. It may increase feelings of self acceptance, and they may enter there new friends to the “real life” but it will take time, and few stages long (McKenna & Seidman,2005?). From covering the theoretical background rises the need to examine how the usage of internet and chat membership and forums affects the individual society, his family contacts, friends, work connection. If research show that peoples interactions over the internet allows them to be better accepted by others and show there true/inner selves, than face-to-face (Bargh, McKenna & Fitzsimons, 2002), that puts the whole concept of face-to-face in a problem. These interactions over the internet have an impact on social interactions in general and on its outcomes. That depends on individual differences and the social context (McKenna & Seidman, 2005?). It is fair to assume that the internet has narrowed the distance in the world (you can see it obviously in the USA) and from that, improved family and friends communication, that has even increased there face-to-face interactions (McKenna & Seidman, 2004?). Further more, internet interactions, without people from the off-line life, had consequences on the off-line life (mostly good) this consequences is minor, at the moment (McKenna, Buffardi & Seidman,2005?). But what had happened to the Israeli family? In a place were distance is not a big barrier, dose the internet contributes to the family communication? Friend’s communication?


This research is based on the qualitative system and quantitative system for research and will have an inductive guideline. The qualitative aspect is gushed by the use of depth interviews as a tool measurement, with the information analyses that will be made according to the qualitative methods to analyses text. The quantitative aspect will be covered by a survey conducted with 500 questioners thru the internet using the same definitions of the research population from the interviews. Research population: composed by approximately 30 participants (for the qualitative system) . The participants will be defined as people that use the internet for social reasons not only work related (chat rooms, forums, blogers etc.). The participant’s age will be between 25 – 50, that is because in thus ages we find most of the internet users. Sampling method: not probabilistic. In snow ball method. Gathering the data: the interviews will contain a number of questions to set a ground for comparison (see attach 1). With a sampling of 30 people that filed the requirement of the research population, when the purpose is to examine the use of fabricated identity and its social ramifications on the individual and what are those ramifications. Processing the data: in order to process the data a qualitative analysis will be done in order to identify themes and patterns. From the interviews an aspects of the phenomena will be locate, in order to identify elements that can be explainable. Afterwards a tentative explanation will be drawn based on the data that will explain the phenomena.


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Bargh, J.A., McKenna, K.Y.A., & Fitzsimons, G.M. (2002). Can You Sea the Real Me? Activation and Expression of the “True Self” on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues. 58 (1), pp. 33-48.

Bromberg H.(1996). Are MUDs communities? Identity, belonging, and consciousness in virtual worlds. In Shields R. (Ed.), Cultures of internet virtual spaces, real histories, living bodies:, (pp143-152). London: Sage.

Burgelman, J.C (2000). Traveling with Communication Technologies in Space, Time, and Everyday Life: An Exploration of their Impact, First Monday, 5, 3.

Gamson, W.A., Croteau, D., Hoynes, W. & Sasson, T. (1992) Media Images and the Social Construction of Reality. Annual Review of Sociology, 18, 373-393.

Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet Paradox: a Social Technology that Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being? American Psychologist, 53, pp. 1017-1031.

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McKenna, K. Y. A., Buffardi, L. E. & Seidman, G. (2005). Self presentation to friends and strangers online. In K.-H. Renner, A. Schutz, & F. Machilek (Eds.), Internet and Personality (pp. 176-189). Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers.

McKenna, K.Y.A., Green, A.S.; & Gleason, M.E.J. (2002). Relationship formation on the Internet: what's the big attraction?., Journal of Social Issues, 58, pp. 9-23.

McKenna, K.Y.A, & Seidman, G. (year). Considering the Interactions: The Effects of the Internet on Self and Society. Pp. 852-892

McKenna, K. Y. A., & Seidman, G. (2005). Social Iidentity and the Sself: Getting Cconnected Oonline. In W. R. Walker & D. Hermann (Eds.), Cognitive Technology: Essays on the Transformation of Thought and Society. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland and Company, Inc.

Rubin, Z. (1975). Disclosing oneself to a stranger: Reciprocity and its limits. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 11, pp. 233-260.

Song, F.W. (2002). Virtual communities in a therapeutic age, Society, 39, pp. 39-45. Warschauer, M. (2000). Does the Internet bring freedom? Information technology, education, and society. 1(2), 93-2001

- attach 1 -

Interview questions 2

1. Demographic data. 2. In what way do you think your online interactions have affected your relationships with your family and friends? 3. Are there things that you talk about with your online friends that you don’t talk about with your non-online friends, if so, please tell us about what kinds of things you might discuss and why you would do so? 4. Some people have said that using the Internet has made them feel less close to their family and friends and to see those people lees and to have fewer friends as a result. Others have said that it has the opposite effect and they feel closer to their family and friends and that they have gained new friends through using the Internet. Still others have said that using the Internet has had no effect at all on their relationships with family or friends. Can you tell us about your own experience? 5. When you are in the forum, does it make you feel secluded or detached? 6. People have reported that they use the Internet to solve loneliness, isolation etc. can you tell us your reasons for taking part in an online forum? 7. Do you share the participation in the online forum with your family and friends? How do they feel about it? 8. Did you meet with your online friends face-to-face? And if so, did you embrace them into your life? And if not, why? 9. The potential for anonymous interactions over the Internet enables a person to express aspects of self that he or she is usually barred from expressing. Does your online friends know intimate details about you, or do you keep it confidential? If so, why? 10. People have reported that when they keep their identity as a secret, they don’t tend to meet with their online friends. How long have you kept your identity as a secret? Or wasn’t it always your attention? 11. People have reported feeling less anxious, shy, and uncomfortable, and more accepted by their friends when they didn’t meet with their online friends. How do you feel about it? What is your position on the matter? 12. Did your participation in an online forum make it easier for you to meet new people? Or will you perhaps became more dissatisfied with your existing face-to-face relationship? 13. How does the fact that you can now contact your family and friends online make you feel? Does it make you feel lonelier, or maybe better? What did it do to your relationships? 14. Do you have other groups (non-online) that you are a member in? If so, in which group do you feel better socially? And why?

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