Has the Internet Helped the Socially Awkward?
By Bryan Caplan
Would you feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger? How about over the Internet? If you’re like me, you’re a lot more outgoing over the Internet than you are in real life. At the same time, though, I wonder: Has making friends over the Internet made me more outgoing in the real world? I suspect it has, but it’s hard to be sure.
In a similar vein, have you ever noticed how some very socially awkward people have charming Internet personalities? Does the charm they practice in the virtual world eventually spill over to real life?
Perhaps the best test of these hypotheses: Compare the nerds of 1987 to the nerds of 2007. No doubt, the nerds of 2007 still have their interpersonal issues. But aren’t they a lot smoother than their forebears?
What do you think? Non-nerds’ opinions count double… if there are any out reading this. 🙂