Some “web abstainers” simply prefer “real life” to “virtual life”… fancy that…
An article recently published in the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reveals a worrying fact. It says that, in the USA, many employers may fire an employee or not give a job to a person if he or she… has no personal page on the Facebook social network. Moreover, such a person may attract the attention of police and doctors. The reason is that people who have no account on a social network are suspected to be antisocial and hard to communicate with. Russian psychologist Nikolai Tumanov totally disagrees with this, saying, “Some people just feel no need to socialise on the Web, preferring live contact with people. Socialising on the Web is a rather special way of communication, and it’s only natural that some people don’t like it. It is everybody’s personal business whether to socialise on the Web or not”.
However, German psychologist Christoph Moller claims positively that a person who lacks an account on a social network is mentally abnormal. Mr Moller’s opinion is based on the examples of the Norwegian Anders Breivik and the American James Holmes, who killed many people for reasons known only to them. Allegedly, both of them had no accounts on any social networks, which, according to Christoph Moller, is evidence that both are antisocial and misanthropic individuals.
Tumanov is strictly against labelling a person as antisocial only because he or she doesn’t like socialising on the Web, noting, “In my opinion, on the contrary, it’s more logical to suppose that a person has some psychological problems if he or she prefers socialising on the Web to personal contact. There are grounds to suppose that such a person finds it hard to communicate with people personally. Besides, social networks are a new phenomenon, and at present, it’s a bit too early to make any conclusions about their influence on people’s psychology. I believe such conclusions might be made only about 20 or 30 years from now”.
Another Russian psychologist, Maria Starkova, who specialises in the psychology of suicide, spoke in even sharper terms about Christoph Moller’s conclusion, “I believe that this conclusion is absolutely groundless, I’d even say it’s stupid. I have many friends, aged mostly over 30, who never socialise on any Web networks, but all of them are absolutely normal people. It is everybody’s right not to socialise on the Web”. There’s another reason why some people don’t socialise on the Web. It’s no secret that, in some countries, social networks are checked by intelligence services. Thus, it’s small wonder that some people don’t hurry to reveal too much information about themselves on the Web.
17 August 2012
Voice of Russia World Service