The text-based medium I chose for my assignment was the chatroom Omegle.com. Omegle is a site where strangers can meet strangers and they are instantly connected. In fact, their headline is “Talk to Strangers!” They have a brief description of what they do on their opening page:” Omegle is a great way of meeting new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick another user at random and let you have a one-on-one chat with each other. Chats are completely anonymous, although there is nothing to stop you from revealing personal details if you would like.” While this may be a great way for some people to meet people and make friends, I personally had a difficult time.
I went through approximately 3 partners before I decided to quit. The first person I met instantly ‘shouted’ out expletives. Shouted is kind of a loose term here. While I didn’t literally hear this stranger drop the ‘F’ bomb, he used all caps, which in text based communication means that they are saying something loudly and emphatically. I was startled at this unwarranted verbal assault and when I was ready to retort, he or she left the room. As much of a failure as that first encounter was, the word hostile rang several bells and had me thinking of the Reduced Context Cues theory (Sproull & Kiesler). Our interaction was brief and filled with hostility, and because there were no nonverbal cues to establish a certain decorum. Without this basis, they had the feeling that they could behave uninhibited by proper behavior and swear at me in my face.
My second interaction was also brief, but less hostile. I encountered another male on the website and he immediately asked me: ”a/s/l?” I was a little thrown off by this, but I quickly remembered hearing about this once upon a time when I used to go into AOL chatrooms. It stood for age/sex/location. I answered and apparently he wasn’t satisfied with my answer and he left the room. Theory-wise, I would say this would fit more closely with the Social Information Processing theory (Walther). This works because I believe that there was an actual attempt to find out who I was. Although after figuring out who I was I was rejected completely :-(.
The third and final encounter was lengthy and it actually helped redeem the site of Omegle. Her name was Sarah she was 36, and from the Netherlands. I believe she worked as a florist and she loved walks when the weather was about 20 degrees Celsius. As you can probably tell we fell in love, I jest. I would say this would be classified as an Social Information Processing encounter. We spoke as if we were speaking to each other in real life, but with the absence of nonverbal reactions. We got to know more about each other