Online Behaviour

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Information about Online Behaviour
Business & Mgmt

Published on November 26, 2008

Author: santosheg



My thoughts on why people behave differently from the way they do in real life. Random thoughts...

Online Behaviour – Why people don’t behave the way the do… I wanted to cover my thoughts on Online Behaviour – why people don’t behave the way they do in real life There is a vast difference in the behaviour of people when they are online or offline. We all have been conditioned to the fact that Internet enables an easy and convenient way of communicating with each other. But these online interactions are not necessarily, an extension of our real life behaviour but a medium for surfacing our deep rooted feelings/actions. A common example would be – You would find it hard to say no to a friend of yours when you are face to face, but when you are online chatting, saying no would not be hard. My main line of question is - has the Net increased social interactions, but of a different kind? Why does the same person, behave differently when he/she is online? Taking the Freudian principle and tweaking the ‘Iceberg’ model a little bit, we can get into the different stages and the effect of the same on the user’s psyche. When a person is online there are 4 stages that will affect his online behaviour. The Normal Stage The Interlinked Stage The ‘attached’ Stage The ‘detached’ Stage The Normal Stage: When the user is online, and interacting with people he/she knows (either through email/Instant Messaging, writing scrap). This phenomenon is predominantly the way any user would behave when in online space. It is usually happens – when you know others, and others know you.

The Interlinked Stage: In this stage the user would react the same way as in normal stage in most of the instances. However, there would be instances where he might behave in a manner we would not have in real life. Example, in a particular situation, a person may not say no when he is face to face with the other party (especially, if he/she knows the other party); but saying no through an email or message (SMS) would be easier, and they might just do that. This is usually true – when you want to send comments/feedback on articles, blog scrap, or you are using a known identity and chatting in a chat room.

The Attached Stage: This stage of people you would find usually in the virtual world scenario –, Also such behaviour is found in chat rooms, where you can log on as anonymous user. Here your behaviour would have some semblance to what you do in offline world. However, you would transgress a lot, and would do be willing to do things you normally would not do. However, if the online space is some place where others know you in real life – you will still behave in the normal way in some instance. The Detached Stage: Creating anonymous online avatars, extreme online gaming, geeks who are well versed with the ways of the Internet, and want to have some fun at somebody’s expense are some of the places you would find such behaviour. P2P sites where you upload/ download stuff that are not legal – the reason is not that you want to break the law, it is more to satisfy the ‘rebel’ in you.

Conclusion: Online behaviour of a person need not be same as their real life behaviour. As a medium, Internet gives the user an option of being anonymous, and thus a reason for them to behave in a manner that will not be similar to their off-line behaviour. As an advertiser we need to understand, the place, the reason, and the age (number of years using internet) of the target group, before we make ads, targeting them. We currently live in a world, wherein we use the findings of the offline behaviour of a person, and create communication messaging for online medium It would be great to do a proper research on the online behaviour of the TG, before we have empirical data to substantiate the above theory.

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