Eneseväljendus, identiteet ja grupitunne küberruumis
Many people use personal computers and Internet to solve their problems at work and in everyday life. People live in two different realities at the same time: the virtual and the real one. Internet is a new communication channel which can bring people both joy and problems. The key words for expressing dangers of Internet-related communication are invisibility, anonymity and experiment. This work is important because it is the first Internet-thematic research in Estonia based on qualitative interviews. The purpose of this work is to research the attitudes, experiences, fears, and expectations of different users in conjunction with virtual communication. This survey was conducted by a 4-membered research-group in composition of Marko Paloveer, Piret Reiljan, Kristiina Tagel and Urmas Rosenberg. The survey is based on another research called „Mina. Maailm. Meedia“ which took place in 2002. The respondents of this study belonged to six different user-types (versatile, interactive user; multiple interaction user; communicator; private-life-centred user; participator; small- scale user) and their age ranged from 19 to 60 years. The main results according to the interviews of the present survey are: • Only few people prefer Internet-related communication to other possibilities, most respondents like communicating directly or by telephone; • Almost all the respondents think that direct communication is different from communicating via virtual world; • 2/3 of the respondents do not see any differences between their own real-life and virtual communicating; • Most of the respondents don’t trust Internet-related communication; • At the same time most of the respondents believe that nobody has fooled them on the Internet and they also claim that they have not told any lies on the Internet; • Public comments on the Internet are mostly negative and the anonymity of most authors reduces the reliability of virtual opinions; • None of the respondents has ever been affected by the public opinions posted on the Internet; • The meeting- and dating-portals are very popular because there it is possible for all users to satisfy their needs for attention and communication (with strangers); • None of the respondents has ever felt any group feeling on the Internet. These results are not meant to be applied to all Estonian Internet users, they rather investigate different types of users and help us understand what people might think and feel while communicating in virtual room. When dealing with Internet topics it is important to consider the age-factor. It is logical that younger people are more comfortable with the virtual environment. Hence, one alternative possibility to expand this research is to make similar interviews with only high school students for example. This would give an interesting possibility to compare the attitudes towards Internet-related communication between different age- groups. Internet-related communication is a very interesting research object and because it has only been studied for a short time, there are many standpoints to deal with this topic. Hopefully this work is only an introduction to qualitative Internet-research among Estonian users.
H Social Sciences (General), bakalaureusetööd