What IS the glue?

Brenda raises numerous questions, but “WHY?” is one that I think we were trying to answer in class today. There was a word on the tip of my tongue, and it wasn’t until I read some of Perloff’s “Introduction to Persuasion” at lunch that it came to me. He was discussing the variations of persuasion…sometimes coercion…that go on within cults. BELONGING. We need to belong to an entity bigger than ourselves. The question is: Should this entity have a good purpose for the whole world? For part of the world? For the group itself? Yes, we are looking to be independent, searching for some way to be unique, but we are searching for it within the constraints of a group to which we look for validation and acceptance. So, we want to be different and noticeable, but not too different, not too eccentric.

3 thoughts on “What IS the glue?

  • August 29, 2006 at 12:08 pm
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    I agree. This is just like junior high (or even college) when people are searching for their own identity within a larger group. Think of all the various types and styles of clothing that a person can select and then look around campus. Most people choose to dress in a very similar manner. I really do think that the glue of online communities is tied up in their identities (whether rooted in FtF interaction or pseudonymous on the web). It’s because people value these identities and want to have them validated that adherence to social norms and rules imposed by a community is so important. What do you think?

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  • August 29, 2006 at 7:47 pm
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    Social norms are what separate the ins from the outs. If you don’t abide by them, you become an outcast or a pariah. It’s not that people want to be in the IN GROUP so much as they want to be IN A GROUP…PERIOD. They want to be accepted and validated by the people they themselves respect or admire. Groucho Marx turned this concept inside out when he said, “I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER.”

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  • August 31, 2006 at 12:18 pm
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    Talking about in and out groups, the fact that grown ups want to be in “groups” just like junior high schoolers want to, also suggests that there has been a slight shift in the social life of America. Our compatriots are going through a continuous pubescence, we live in a youthful society, where the 60s are the new forties, and the 40s the new 20s. And, even more apropriately, we live in a “sibling society”, a society of wannabe “Friends”, flat by definition, sexually polymorphic, non-commital and in consequence contentious and exploratory (due to sibling rivalry, of course).

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