Saturday, March 6, 2010

Flames in Cyberspace

Philip A. Thompsen discusses the idea of flaming, in Cyberspace and Communication, an issue which we discussed briefly in class today. Personally, I appreciate the original definition of flaming, "to speak rabidly or incessantly on an uninteresting topic or with a patently ridiculous attitude." This came out of a 1983 version of "The Hacker's Dictionary" and I have to say that translates to a point to today's version of flaming (331.)

But, personally, I have witnessed a lot less of overtly flaming on the internet, but more manipulation in order to transmit the same or similar emotions of anger, frustration, and argument that flaming is defined as. I do not see flaming as much, but more so constructive, relatively cruel, critiques of individuals in a Myspace/Facebook environment, or a blog/academic environment.

I agree with Thompsen when he suggest that flaming is a mixture of media experience and skills, and the social influence of the form. More flaming I have witnessed occurs on message boards, where the open forum makes flaming almost permissible. On blogs or Facebookesc sites, I see less flaming because of the nature of the "social influence" of the forum. As Professor Strate mentioned in class, Facebook is a "safe" environment, and there is no room for flaming to be a common place.

What do you think? I think web 1.0 types of websites allowed for flaming to occur more than Web 2.0, which makes interpersonal conversation more constructive, then 1.0 which made it constrained to a more linear form. But honestly, I do not see flaming as much now than I saw it say 7 or 8 years ago. Why?

-Jessica Vanacore

1 comment:

  1. Interesting question you pose, and it's certainly true that the term itself is no longer used as much. Maybe people have grown accustomed to exchanging text on line and via cell phones, and are more forgiving. Maybe we've gotten better at constructing the messages and avoiding misunderstanding. Maybe Web 2.0 is a richer medium, better able to communicate subtleties. Maybe there is so much out there that rather than stay and argue, people just withdraw. It does seem to me to be a lot harder now just to get a message through, and get people to pay attention, whereas with flaming maybe people were paying too much attention, reading too much into messages. I do agree too that a bigger problem these days is what's know as trolling.