Shyness Online

I recently read a post on Andy Wibbels’ blog about shyness, and I find myself often returning to it to the extent that I had to process it in writing. Taken originally from Zen Habits, they are:

    1. Introduce Yourself
    2. Don’t Feel the Need to Qualify Yourself
    3. Ask More, Talk Less
    4. Be Generous
    5. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover
    6. Remember a Detail
    7. Compliment Others
    8. Think of Others

Are these factors applicable both online as well as off? Tara on Andy’s site claims they are applicable online, while Zen Habit is somewhat silent about shyness online. While I think shy behavior is shy behavior, I think the medium affects how it is manifest.

Take for example #2 above. When there is a F2F conversation, I find the need to qualify myself and “be as good or better” than others (for the sake of confidence) to be very different than if I am communicating in an online class or discussion board. I feel an awkwardness with people F2F I do not know well when there is silence, but when this occurs online I find it easier to move on (to another website, discussion, research, entertainment, etc.) while not getting so intimidated. Perhaps silence online is expected? Safe? Disengaging?

I wonder if there are not many of the same underlying causes with different ways of expressing them based on the situation? Hmm, I smell a research project here, perhaps one fitting media psychology?

Media Psychology Research Center (MPR)

Banner-gray-name-smaller-logo I recently stumbled across an interesting website in the field of Media Psychology–Media Psychology Research Center (MPR). With an ambitious agenda and the energy to realize it, what attracted me to their work is how they approach media (with my own bias toward online and educational uses) from a variety of perspectives with the intention of studying how it relates with human behavior. I like the combination between media and psychology after spending so many years working at the intersection between media and adult education, media and instructional design, media and communication, and media as autoethnographic and narrative vehicle.

From their website, they define Media Psychology as:

Media Psychology Research Center views media psychology an interactive and dynamic relationship between humans and media

This is key to a more accurate and useful understanding of the human-media experience.

We use this model to establish domains of assessment throughout the human-media experience to more effectively assess, develop and produce positive media.

Can we really study media in any interesting way without studying how it affects and is driven by human behavior? That is one of the refreshing realizations I had when I reviewed their list of academic resources on their site. Being a lover of Amazon and continued education, I think I can spend a lot of time fleshing information and <ideally> learning from the materials they are sharing.

Now, perhaps a trackback link will encourage them to discuss their current work on their blog so they can engage the larger blogosphere!

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