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(Dis)Connected with Koobecaf by Nanthanat Tongdaeng
What is Koobecaf? Koobecaf is a subculture within an overarching culture---American culture. That is, while the members of the Koobecaf society are still sharing some of the common practices and beliefs of the American culture, they operate on their own standards, and therefore, have a culture of their own.
Little by little, the impacts of the Koobecaf are changing its dominating culture constantly whether it was subconsciously or not. The greatest impact that the Koobecaf have on the American culture is probably the means of communication.
Americans communicate either verbally or non-verbally, or sometimes both. For example: by talking face to face, other than using verbal language to converse with one another, the American can also communicate through their body language, such as facial expressions and gestures, for more understanding of the message that is being spoken. Other means of communication in American culture include talking on the telephone and writing. While telephone may be a more convenient way to communicate, it only conveys the message verbally. Writing may be the most convenient way of communication, but it does not always convey the exact meaning of the message. Because writing, unlike face-to-face and telephone conversation, does not require two-way responding, the writer can write his message anytime he wants to. So the more convenient the communication is, the less personal it becomes.
In Koobecaf culture, the most common way of communicating is “wall posting”. The members interact with each other through printed words. Each member has his own “wall” where others can post their greetings and/or messages. However, not every member of the Koobecaf society has access to every “wall.” Only those who have the owner’s permission are able to see and leave a message; the non-member, on the other hand, has been denied access to the “wall” completely. When someone leaves a message on the “wall,” the owner of the “wall” then responds to the message by posting on the writer’s, and so on, or he can choose to ignore the message entirely. This way of communication is the one that the Koobecaf uses the most, because they can post a message whenever and wherever they have access to the internet. It is convenient, indeed, and for that reason, it is changing the way of conversing in American culture as more and more people join Koobecaf. Posting on the wall has become, more or less, one of the common ways of communicating in the American culture.
In one sense, the Koobecaf practice is connecting people together, for if you have access to computer and internet, you can be a part of this society and connect to the other members around the globe. But in another sense, it is disconnecting people as well, because there is no personal connection in the conversation. Also people cannot just start communicating with one another unless they have access and permission to do so. As the members connect and communicate with each other through the “wall,” they have lost the personal connection that can be found only through verbal conversation. Words on the “wall” cannot always convey the exact message, thought, and emotion that the writer has at that moment. The receiver has to be the one who interprets the message himself as he receives it, because there is no one to bring those words to life for him. So the underlying meaning in the words is taken as the receiver sees it.
Culture evolves as time goes by. Koobacaf is changing the way of communication in American culture in a way that if this change is continued, we might one day lose our personal connection in conversation.
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, Oct 22 2008, 11:02 AM EDT
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