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A few months ago, a friend from graduate school asked if I wanted to Gchat (which has since folded into Google Hangouts). Vulnerable women used to be suspected of witchcraft.
I found myself asking questions that reminded me of being a teenager, the sort of things you could only ask in the middle of the night, and he always responded candidly. It had been years since I got to know a relative stranger that well.
We planned Halloween costumes and epic homecoming sleepovers.
We talked about our eating disorders with a candor unavailable to us at the lunch table.
Katz credits AIM as helping shape their own gender expression today. The technology was new, but it wasn’t that different from what adolescents have been doing for ages. “I think it helped young women feel like they could come into their own in a lot of ways,” Moss says. In class, I was the person with the right answer — or the person constantly competing with the other smart kid who said it first.
“Teens used the service to flirt through text, engaging in a form of written flirtation that looked a lot more like letter-writing practices decades before,” says Danah Boyd, author of “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.” That written flirtation allowed young women to construct their identities as carefully as their away messages. But online, my friends and I who fashioned ourselves as budding intellectuals who didn’t need to always talk like characters in a Woody Allen movie.
We were fans, but we made fun of one song: “Digital Get Down.” We thought it was “awkward” how NSync made a song about asking some girl to touch herself on a webcam.
Mr Kohlman acknowledged in his closing argument that jurors were likely to be "troubled and offended" by the graphic chat and video of Ritter that prosecutors played, but said they were required to put aside their personal distaste because "this is not a referendum on whether anybody in the courtroom approves of adult chat rooms".the basics can be extraordinarily arousing when they’re said out of context or in a different situation.” For women like me who were teens and preteens in the late 1990s and early 2000s, that “different situation” was AIM (AOL Instant Messenger).Chatting online was our “out of context,” because interacting fact-to-face meant awkward, eyes-on-the-floor self-consciousness that defined middle or high school. You could “…” through an awkward silence; draft messages in consultation with your BFF; study your chipped nail polish instead of looking straight into the eyes of the person you hoped “like-liked” you. You could sign off with “ciao” one day, “peace out” the next.There seem to be no limits to the sexual explicitness we consume in music and TV and film.But some things are still hard to do, and maybe they’ll only get harder the more digital intermediaries pop up, giving us alternatives to face-to-face intimacy.