Social Cycle

Has anyone ever noticed that we as humans tend to go through social cycles? You are probably wondering what in the world am I talking about. I will try my best to explain what I mean. Take for an example you are in a new social setting, such as starting a new semester at school. You meet people and then after a bit you start to socialize with a regular group of people. The socializing keeps going on for an amount of time that varies from a few weeks to years. Then you start to drift away from the group of people that you socialize with, until eventually you hardly are in contact with any of them. That is the general idea of what I mean when I say social cycle.

Does that situation sound familiar to anyone? I know I have gone through a few social cycles myself. What I noticed is that it happens more often online. I think that social cycles occur more frequently online because of things like chat rooms, instant messaging and twitter. All these tools offer ways of communicating with someone immediately.  They also bring together people who have common interests from different places that normally would not be possible offline.

An example of a social cycle I experienced was when I first started using the Internet. I was a huge fan of the Tenchi Muyo anime series. I found this site called mytenchi.com, which was an excellent fan site made for all the Tenchi Muyo series. One unique feature was the site had a chat room. One day I was curious and I clicked on the link for the chat room. Next thing I know I was chatting with all these interesting people who all had one thing in common, we loved Tenchi Muyo.

What started as something that I thought would be a one-time thing turned into an almost daily routine. Around 6PM local time I would always hop onto the chat room and talk with all the regulars. I remember having such lengthy conversations with these people that I had never met in real life. I thought that this was something that would just keep going on forever.

A few months later something happened that changed everything. The owner of mytenchi.com had to shut down the site because he could not afford to cover the server bills anymore.  While the chat room still existed because it was hosted on a public IRC server, the #mytenchi chat was never the same after the site shut down. The room hardly got any new people joining the chat and slowly, one by one, the regulars stopped showing up.

I myself started to visit the chat room less frequently. The room really didn’t have that nice community feel for it. One day the remaining moderators of the chat room decided that they would create a new chat room in an attempt to revive interest and bring in more chatters. The ending result of that was #AnimeChat. That really was the nail on the coffin for me in this group. Many of the regulars never even went to the new chat room. I stopped by a couple of times but it just didn’t give off the same feel as the #mytenchi room did. I kept in regular contact with one of the mods that I had become really good friends with, but even then the IM’s between us started to become less frequent. I honestly don’t know what ever happened to that friend, last I heard he was getting married to one of the other #mytenchi/#AnimeChat mods.

This is only one of the instances of the social cycle I have been through. After that I found a new group of people who I started to talk with and the cycle began again. It has happened many times and in many places ranging from fans of TV shows to where I am now on Justin.Tv. I have been part of and seen this cycle happen many times with different people. Sure there are always one or two people who sometimes makes it out of the cycle and I stay in contact with, but those are few and far between.

Keep in mind that this can happen both online and offline. I have seen it happen everywhere around me in life, it could just possibly be part of human nature. I don’t have an answer as to why this phenomenon occurs, I just know it does.

Have any of you reading noticed this too? Or am I just imagining things in my paranoid mind? Give me some of your insights in the comments section below!

*Edit*

Fixed some grammar.

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