Digital Society

A man loses consciousness on stage in front of hundreds of students.  The response is immediate.  Students rush to Tweet and text the event.   The guy on the stage?   He’s unconscious.  And alone.  But not for long.  Here comes someone.  A Senior.  Look!  He’s on stage, approaching the prone man.  He’s… snapping a picture with his cell phone.

Ticktock, the second-hand travels the clock.  A pause.  The formerly unconscious man rises.  He’s dusting off his trousers, looking bemused, making a joke of it.  He’s okay.  Fingers fly across keys, Tweeting and texting updates.  The sense of disappointment is palpable.  The Tweetable moment has passed.  Back to the scheduled event.

It’s not far-fetched.  Something very similar happened when Bill Nye the Science Guy collapsed on stage as he was approaching the podium at USC last week.

********

They’re watching a movie side-by-side, eating popcorn from a shared bowl.  Wiping fingers on their jeans then tapping away at their telephones.

Buzz Buzz

LOL

ROFL

OMG!

The theater is quiet but pinpoints of light dot the auditorium as texts and Tweets fly back and forth.  Conversations and updates.  Talking without speaking.  The cyber communication never stops.

******

Cell phone in hand, I stalk my son at his birthday party.  The light is lovely.  He looks so handsome.  My husband jokes that my photos will appear on Facebook before I go to bed that night.  I glance at him in annoyance.  Not true.  Totally true. That’s exactly what I’m thinking.  I want to share the moment with everyone.  In fact, I am so focused on sharing that I am missing the moment.  I am a spectator at my own child’s birthday party, not a participant.

Back home, I sit at my computer uploading photos.  It’s late.  Past midnight and I have an early morning ahead but I’m not in bed.  I realize that I am becoming less and less present in my life.  I am connecting with people, yes, but from a growing distance. My husband is asleep in bed, alone.

Being somewhat reclusive by nature, I’d rather Facebook than see people face-to-face.  I can Facebook in my most comfy sweats.  I don’t have to make appointments.  I hate scheduling, so being appointment free works for me.  I can be in touch whenever I want.  I can log-off when I’m bored without an awkward good-bye ritual.  Facebook makes communication so easy.

More people know more about my life than they ever did before but they rarely hear my voice or  feel the press of my body in a warm hug.  Not that I don’t speak or hug.   It’s just that my words are typed.  And actually, I hug rather indiscriminately now  and kiss, too.

xoxo

(((((hug ))))))

I hug and kiss people I wouldn’t have thought to hug or kiss before.  Thank you, Facebook, for the gift of remote intimacy.

*muah*

For awhile I let my Facebook page go, but I missed it.  I love having a means to stay in touch with people I’ve met via the Internet, with family and friends I haven’t seen in ages.  I no longer write Christmas letters.  What would I say, for heaven’s sake?!  Everyone already knows everything.

Every now and then I go completely off the grid.  A lot of people seem to think it makes me flaky, wonky, weird, temperamental.  I feel bad for the folks who don’t get it, who can’t imagine why anyone would want to unplug.   It’s a digital society, yes, and I will incorporate it into my life to some degree but I won’t let it rob me of the moment I’m in.  Facebook is a tool I use, like a radio or microwave oven.

If someone collapses in front of me I’ll likely pick up my phone and call 911 but I will not Tweet, text or post a status update on Facebook.

________________________________________

Don’t stop hugging me or kissing me.  xoxo <— I love that.  Sometimes I can actually feel this:  (((((((Kate))))))).  And don’t think I’m judging your updates.  I’m just thinking.  As always, I love it when you think with me.

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41 responses to this post.

  1. I feel ya on this…

    Reply

  2. I could not have said it better! Brilliant!

    *Hugs*
    Carmen ;)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on November 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    My mother in law is always asking what did people do without cell phones that text, or get on the internet (I just read this on my phone), what did people do without constant means of communication and I seriously do not know! LMAO My young daughters are growing up in such a technology based world…. my first grader is getting online in class and wants to get on the same websites at home. We are lucky to have a laptop to let her do that, but still! Okay going off topic there….

    Reply

    • I love that you just read and commented from your phone. Perfect! =D

      Facebook is a great tool. I love being able to see what friends and family are doing at any given moment, especially when I can offer up a prayer or give moral support. I also love the fun updates, laughter, silliness, random thoughts, and passionate discussions. I love looking at photos, too. It’s all SO EASY. I can be a reclusive but still stay in touch.

      And I have no problem walking away from facebook. As soon as I realized I was focusing on it too much, I dropped it. Finally, something I can do in moderation. ;)

      My cell phone is very basic and I have no desire for anything more sophisticated. I watch other people text and Tweet and do the remote fb thing from everywhere and I can’t even imagine. I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything if I had electronic updates hitting me every moment the way my oldest son does. I’ve intentionally kept my younger children from being online at home, except for an hour or two a week. I want them to MOVE, play, get out. I don’t want them plugged into an electronic device, not even a telephone.

      I appreciate your thoughts. You weren’t off topic at all!

      Reply

  4. Back in the day, when cars were a new thing, people theorized that it would be lethal to travel at speeds much faster than horses could run. We adjusted, some better than others. Then when jet flight was new, and the sound barrier wasclose to being broken, people theorized we wouldn’t be able to hear at that speed. We adjusted.

    The changes are coming faster and faster since the days of the floppy disc (remember those?)
    Polite society is slowly catching up. I see more people starting to snap a single shot then put the phone down. Or shut off the ringer at lunch. Many companies have a no-phone policy for meetings. We are getting there. We are adjusting, some better than others.

    Like you, I noticed a disconnect with my family this summer as I was swallowed by the instant/continual media-rich umbilical cord of my smart phone. I stopped having my e-mail pushed to my phone and turned off notifications from almost everything else….yes, almost.

    Where should the lines be? Is it ever acceptable to break off a conversation with a live person in front of you to answer a FB notification? What is ok? What is completely out of bounds?

    Is it such a bad thing that I pretend to be answering that loud guy on blutooth? I mean, he is just shouting out into thin air. He must be talking to me, or someone nearby. Am I getting the message across to him, or just being a part of the problem?

    Reply

    • What a cool comment, Jesse! I LOVE IT!

      Polite society lost it’s foothold with the advent of call waiting when people began cutting off conversations mid-sentence to jump into another one. I hated call waiting when it first came out and I hate it now. I can’t turn call waiting off but I can decline to use it and I absolutely will not use it unless I believe there’s an emergency at hand. That’s how “old fashioned” I am.

      People text in the middle of conversations, meetings, movies, weddings, and while driving. A local school came under fire when students texted their way through a speech given by a Veteran and rightly so. I’m utterly appalled.

      I don’t think it’s ever okay to break off a conversation with someone who’s standing in front of you to answer or post a facebook status or Tweet or text someone else. For me the line is clear.

      As for answering the loud guy on the bluetooth, I love it. I do it all the time but not to be funny. I like to be polite so if people are talking and there’s nobody else around, I’ll answer them. Awhile back I saw a woman on the corner who appeared to be homeless. She was flapping her arms around and ranting. I touched her arm and asked her if she was okay only to be shrugged off and called a string of filthy names. She had a blue tooth in her ear. Who knew?! It reminded me of seeing televisions in cardboard shacks in the Philippines. Technology has a long reach.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Tyler Myrth on November 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    (Shockingly) I found myself nodding in agreement as I read. Except for that picture taking part: I don’t like to have mine taken and there I don’t take other peoples unless they ask. Very unsure about this indiscriminate hugging and kissing. (at least exercise machinery remains special) but I do remember my arts/theatre days where touching was the norm/expected. I was comfortable with that in that arena, and very uncomfortable with it in others.

    Reply

    • You make me smile. I’m not all that indiscriminate with my x’s and o’s. I only ever give them when I mean them. It’s just that I’m much less likely to go around hugging and kissing people offline than I am online. xoxo <—- I mean that. :) Now get back on that elliptical!

      Reply

  6. This really hits home for me! I have often felt at times so connected to my online friends, and I do consider them friends indeed. I cherish the camaraderie and interaction. It is truly amazing to me!

    But I have noticed recently that the balance had shifted in my life….. Yes, I was spending WAY too much time online doing tags and other nonproductive things. I was not feeling good about it either….. so to me, that was a warning signal. This has been a significant year for me in many ways. Lots of changes in my life, and I found that I was beginning to put my online time AHEAD of my real life. Thank God I recognized it in time and began to prioritize things in my life. I’m so glad I did! I have had to be more discerning about posting photos and other content…..

    Technology is phenomenal, but if we let it run awry, it can destroy our lives. WE ultimately have the power to harness it and use it in a positive way. I’ve never deleted my Facebook or Myspace accounts, but I no longer have problem walking away to be a participant in my own life! xoxo

    Reply

    • My life has been immeasurably enriched by online friendships. Where else but cyberspace would I meet so many people that I resonate with, kindred spirits. I treasure my online community. That being said, I wish we had a more altruistic venue. Facebook is a business, after all, not a non-profit organization. Their goal is to gather our personal data to be used in marketing for the purpose of profit. It makes the venue feel rather suspect to me.

      I don’t want to leave the community but I do want to protect my privacy. Toward that end, I have removed my photographs and most of my personal information.

      I suppose I will continue to step forward and back as I navigate my through this new and ever-evolving digital society. In the end, there’s no contest. I wish to live outside the confines of cyber-space. It’s a nice place to visit… :0)

      xoxo & <3 <— heartfelt!

      Reply

  7. Posted by Ileene on November 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    When I think of how things were when there were no cell phones..no internet…I NEVER EVER remember being bored..or without something to do…could be because I had small children but I’m still working two jobs..and ya know I find myself being bored sometimes from all the chaos of all the devices…and I just gotta tune out and turn off. Your thoughts are part of what bothers the hell out of me. People just don’t get together and have dinner and socialize at each others house like they used to…It’s like people have forgotten how to deal with a real live physical being..LIke the party we just went to and people were on their cell phones the whole time….AND .we went to dinner with several couples a few weeks ago, and everyone of the women were constantly checking their cell phones and one even brought her laptop and got on FACEBOOK right there at the table! I was astounded, and said so..”Like hey..ya’ll are ridiculous with your cell phones and such…one of them apologized and put her cell phone up, saying I know ,,,it’s the kids…” (I UNDERSTAND that ) but the one who had her laptop isn’t a Mom….( she grabbed one of the other girls and they went outside to gossip and get on Facebook…prolly were saying what a bitch i was..lol… ANYWAY I was highly irritated and I’m pretty sure we don’t have much of a friendship anymore. With my family we have rules..we talk to each other on our lunch break or while we are driving. Bu the minute we arrive home we hang up and spend time with our families. Don;t get me wrong, I get on Face book at home, but my kids do not. They sat they are too darn busy. Anyway it’s all about keeping a BALANCE, Facebook is fine if it’s not overdone. I think I’m on ALOT. But I sure do understand sharing on line especially my beautiful grand children and pets…and I so feel ya on the having affection for my cyber buddies . YOU especially..it feels REAL to me…those relationships..I’d be sorely disappointed if they turned out not to be if I should meet my cyber buddies meet one day. But I think I’m a pretty good judge of character and I’m not worried.

    Reply

    • Most of the people I know offline aren’t plugged into facebook, oddly enough. A few are. I suppose I should be thankful after reading about your night out. YIKES! It would have bothered me hugely to be in the midst of a group that was unable or unwilling to uplug.

      I have a friend who doesn’t Facebook, Twitter, or text, but he plays phone apps non-stop and it drives me nuts. All through dinner, in a movie theater. It seems so dismissive, so rude. I’ve said so on numerous occasions but it has no impact. He gets bored easily, he says. Thanks. LOL

      I know you, Ileene, and you know me. I have no doubt of that. We’ve seen each others family and pets. We’ve told our life stories. We’ve talked about God and the universe and everything else. :0) It takes time to know a person and we’ve invested time. When we meet face-to-face, I will give you a hug and we will talk just like we do now. I have no doubt. :)

      Reply

  8. If I had a cellphone that allowed me to tweet or go on FB, then I would call 911 before updating my status, but since I don’t (no desire to be that linked in) I would only call 911

    In some ways, I think the world is getting too enamored with tweeting and updating their ‘status’.

    Reply

    • That’s sounds like an honest answer, Craig. There was a time when I would definitely have updated my status, if I had the technology, after I dialed 911. Now, I doubt that it would occur to me, at least not until much later.

      I agree about society being too into tweeting and status updating. Why must everyone know what we’re doing at every moment? *tilts head* It’s like we’re all our own paparazzi, stalking ourselves, doing write-ups, posting photos. If the world wants to know what Brad and Angelina are doing at every moment, then why not you or me, too? It doesn’t appeal to me at all.

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  9. VERY powerful post. Wow. And so well written.

    I’ll never forget the time someone found her pet unconscious and stopped to post a status update about it. “What should I do?” she asked. Everyone was cyber-shouting, “Get him to the emergency vet!!!” Maybe sometimes we just need to feel more connected, but people need to live first, tweet second.

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    • Great to see you, Stephanie. =D

      You’ve provided an excellent example. Maybe she really couldn’t think straight and needed help, and posting a status update about it was the equivalent of calling a friend for an opinion, only instead of hearing from one person she heard from a whole slew of people. If that’s what happened, that’s actually pretty cool and one way in which Facebook can be a good tool!

      However, if she simply didn’t have her priorities straight and was more interested in sharing a dramatic moment than helping her pet. WOW. That’s right up there with Tweeting at the scene of an accident rather than dialing 911 and running to help.

      This summer I was stung by a bee twice and twice I posted an update about it. I didn’t want to call the doctor because it seemed stupid. How big a baby can I be, right? I’ve only been stung a bajillion times in my life and I’m a country girl. Anyway, posting the status update may have saved my life. My friends chimed in and said GET TO THE DOCTOR NOW. Both times I listened to them when I would not listen to my inner voice and seek medical attention. I needed that crowd saying, GET TO THE DOCTOR, LAME-O! NOW! The first time the sting caused an infection that was traveling up my leg from the bottom of my foot (bad news for a diabetic). The second time I was going numb and having trouble breathing. By the time I got to the doctor I was in trouble. Now I carry an Epi-Pen with me. I’m allergic to bee stings. I had no idea that one could BECOME allergic to bee stings. I thought it was something a person was born with.

      Anyway, you summed it up well with live first, tweet second. I’ll second that. :0)

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  10. There was recently an article in our local paper saying that there was a study done and teens who text over 120 times a day are more likely to be having sex and doing drugs. I looked at all the kids I know and thought wow, take their phones away. Then I thought about it. In todays electronic age most of the kids I know who don’t text like feinds are those who are seen as socially inept and don’t have as many friends (sad isn’t it)

    Where we used to have to hop on our bike or walk up the street to a friend’s house now kids just text. It’s the norm. And kids can be cruel. So even if we all know it’s a good thing to put the phone or computer away sometimes, kids are rejected for such things.

    And yes the kids who text more “do” more. Because as sad as it is the number of texts can (a lot of times) correlate to the number of friends a child has.

    I never texted anyone or updated any kind of status when I was a teen but I still did the things a kid who texts alot today does according to that study.

    I think maybe they should do another study about the sometimes social pressure to text and tweet condition us to focus on the electronic and numb us to the reality right in front of us.

    Oh I got off track and ranted. Lets just say I agree with stepping back and putting the phone and computer away. But at the same time I admit I have more friends in my computer than I do out of it. BUT the ones I hold on to in and out of it are golden. =)

    The other night my huge dog decided to use my little Mom as a chair and although I was laughing my butt of in the moment I immediately grabbed my cell phone and began snapping pictures. Pictures that were on FB with in minutes of the event. And the entire time I was typing this response I was texting back and forth with a cousin who I haven’t seen in a while.

    Holy crap Imma have to count my texts tonight to see if I’m gonna take drgus and have sex!!!

    (((you & me))) stick like glue. love ya!

    Reply

    • And just to let you know. I turn my alerts off while I’m having dinner with friends. I turn them off while in a movie theater. I also have certain tones for certain people so, I can decide what to answer and what to ignore till later.

      I never answer FB alerts until I am good and ready but if I am at my Sis’s house and my Mom calls I will say “Sis will you excuse me for a minute while I get that?” Then upon returning I will apologize and put the celly away again.

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  11. I loved reading your take on this, Chickee. I started thinking about how I grew up out in the country where we were lucky to get two snowy TV channels and never even had an answering machine because my dad thought it was ridiculous. Our first answering machine came when I bought my parents one for Christmas. I was 17-years old!

    Most of my friends had a billion cable channels, including MTV. *gasp* They also had video game systems, computers, answering machines, etc. I remembering envying my friends their MTV and answering machines but many of them envied me my horses, I’m sure. I was never ostracized for being a country girl. :)

    Our oldest son went to Papua New Guinea with us where he played with coconuts and climbed trees and wore the same old pair of shorts day after day. :) It was a wonderful place to be a boy. When we came back he was definitely out of step with other kids his age. He had no knowledge of pop culture and it was a social deficit, for sure. In an effort to make up for that deficit we jumped right in and bought him video games and a computer. It helped (sadly).

    Now, he’s an incredibly techno-savvy adult and he’s very plugged in. He doesn’t Twitter or even do much with facebook but he texts all the live long day and he spends a lot of time on his computer playing games where he interacts with people around the world. Sometimes he’ll sit in a room with friends, each with their own computer, and play. It boggles my brain. I ask them why they don’t do something together and they answer in a chorus, WE ARE! lol

    Regretting our oldest sons immersion in electronics, we pushed our younger children to be outside the way our oldest son was when he was little, before the electronic stuff. They have grown up climbing trees, riding horses, swimming, Rollerblading, being outdoors. They don’t have cell phones nor do they have their own computers. Our youngest daughter gets about two hours a week computer time and about that much TV time. Of course she’s on computers at school.

    Our younger children are very different from the bulk of their peers. They’re not world-weary and sophisticated. They don’t dress like pop-stars. They’re not immersed in pop culture. My husband and I have thought long and hard about the pros and cons of allowing them to be like “all the other kids” and we’ve decided there’s not all that much to admire in the other kids we know, not church kids, not any kids.

    Does that leave them socially handicapped. In some ways, maybe. If the goal of teen years is to be partying and making out with your boyfriend in the backseat of the car, then our kids are way handicapped. They have no opportunity to do either of those things. Bummer. And that probably means that they won’t be homecoming Kings or Queens. But those aren’t things we value or seek for our children and, thankfully, I don’t think they seek them either.

    Wow, I went off an on tangent here but I love it. THANK YOU, CHICKEE!

    As for snapping pictures of your mom and the dog, there’s nothing wrong with that at all! It’s actually pretty wonderful! I love to see those snapshot moments that people post. I like to post them myself! There’s a difference between always being ready to grab a moment for facebook and simply grabbing a moment for facebook. You know? :)

    You don’t strike me as an online junkie. Some days you’re very visible and some days you’re not. You disappear every now and then, never completely, but you take days off at a time and go do your thing. You seem pretty damn balanced to me. Not that you can’t do drugs and have sex, mind you. Knock yourself out! LOL

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  12. P.S. I think I may have done our oldest son a disservice in that last comment. He has a genius for technology. When he was about 9-years old he built a working radio in a cardboard box case. He didn’t have instructions or use a kit, he just built it using bits and pieces he gleaned here and there. From there, after we bought him his own computer and he could see how it worked, he built his own computer. I’m thinking he was about 13-years old then. Anyway, we rely on him as our personal techie, as do many of his friends and their parents, too. He has a mathematical mind and gift for technology. We’re proud of him.

    What we regret is letting him spend so much time playing video games, because he became a part of that video game generation and I don’t see that as a good thing. I think people in the same room should talk to one another, not sit at computers interacting via technology. Many people would disagree with me. Anyway, if our younger kids choose to go there on their own they can. We simply don’t want to lead them there. I hope that makes sense.

    Reply

    • that is awesome!!

      Hey next time you see Nic and his friends in a room playing computer games separately but together, closely watch their eyes, body movements and glances. I’ve seen it before. There is a very subtle communication that goes on. After a great in game play, a head will pop up and eye contact is made. It doesn’t seem like much but there are underlying social cues in those brief moments. There is tons of interaction going on, on the screen and during those brief glances. Once you are able to notice those subtle little interactions you will be astounded at the complex communication actually going on.

      TONS!!

      =)

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      • I’ll have to direct him to your comment. I know he will love it because he tells me the exact same thing about gaming. I shouldn’t dismiss it the way I do because I know how it feels to have offline friends totally dismiss the idea that I have dear friends I’ve never met face-to-face, people I met online and over time have come to love. People like YOU! Just because it’s something I don’t understand doesn’t mean it’s not valuable and valid. Thank you, Chickee. I really needed to hear that!

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  13. hehehee I grabbed my phone to take pictures because I love my Mom and it is really hard to get candid shots of her. Her camera ready smile is so stiff, it doesn’t even lok like her. She saw me post the pictures and said “you get them off there right now!” I told her “geez Mom only my friends can see them.” I didn;t bother to tell her I have almost 300 “friends” online. LoL

    I consider myself addicted to being on the internet and because I do, I make a serious effort to take time off from it.

    I’m glad one of us thinks I seem balanced. LoL

    <3

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    • I totally get that. I just went over to look at your pictures and they’re wonderful. It’s hysterical to see Isa in your mom’s lap because he’s bigger than she is! LOL I’ll have to go back and comment. I also love the photos you took when you two were eating uber junk food last year (I think it was last year).

      I really do love the updates and photos. You know I do. It’s just that I’m always thinking, reevaluating, changing my position then changing it again. I like that about me, by the way, even though it drives some people crazy. I rarely get stuck on the idea of being “right” or having “arrived”. I just keep processing and evolving. I don’t have to explain that to you. You’re used to me. :0) What’s new is the fact that I no longer feel the need to apologize to those who don’t get me.

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  14. I can definitely relate!!! My best friend since junior high lives about 15 minutes away and we text and email more than call… LOL

    I spend so much time at work on the phone and with people that when I’m off, I enjoy the quiet I guess. But it does get crazy sometimes when you realize you’re anxious to share something with the “world” and forget to enjoy it yourself…

    Great blog Kate!!! I’m so glad our paths crossed again from MySpace! I just moved my blog to wordpress… Add my link? http://LisaKessler.wordpress.com :)

    Talk to you soon…

    *HUGS*

    Lisa :)

    Reply

    • Reading about you and your best friend made me smile. I don’t text or e-mail anyone that lives within easy driving distance. Oh, maybe once or twice a week – a quick this or that – but never a conversation. Most of the people I know offline that live close don’t socialize online. A few have facebook accounts and log-in once a month. :)

      Thank you for leaving the link. I will add you to my blog roll!

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  15. Ain’t that the truth?!!! My best friend, like you, always “de-connects” from everything from time to time. I’m much more addicted to social networks, but I’m the happiest when I get to go camping with neither cell nor internet. Like you though, I love to keep in touch with people, esp. the ones I can’t see as they are thousands of mile away from me. It’s so nice to be able to share my life with them.

    It’s also a different experience having a blog. Making a vow to blog every day and to try to stay honest with who I am, as well as maybe not putting it ALL out there has been an interesting journey. I want to be transparent, but I don’t necessarily want to share certain things. Part of me doesn’t care, part of me wants to feel something is sacred, my own, yet the joy comes in the sharing and in being completely honest. Of course, you also try to entertain, give value in some way. And what you get back from people in comments is truly amazing – to hear that your writing actually makes a difference! =)

    Ah, I’m rambling again. Thanks for yet another nice post =)

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    • I’m happiest when I am unplugged as well. I am a child of the sun and earth and that is where my heart beats but I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains much of the year and the Internet provides a wonderful, meaningful distraction. I have learned much from my experiences online, from the people I’ve met, the discussions we have, all of it.

      I used to blog every other day on a big platform. I would get hundreds of comments per blog then spend nearly all day answering them. I always feel if someone takes the time to comment they deserve a response from me and not just a “:)” or a “thank you.” I was very invested as a blogger and the whole experience was deep, even when I was just being silly. It was all about connecting with people, learning, building community.

      I can’t blog on that scale anymore. It usurped my offline life and I am a wife and mother. I can’t live entirely inside my head like that, lost in cyber space. It was addictive for me because for the longest time I felt starved for intelligent, meaningful conversation. My husband and I get caught up in the details of life. My offline friends like to go shopping (lol) – so not me. So there just aren’t that many opportunities to have the kind of conversations I like to engage. Offline people tell me I think to much. Online people think WITH me. I love that. Online I have access to a much broader group of people, other thinkers.

      Sometimes I feel too exposed online. That comes with engaging honest, transparent discussion in public! I wrestle with it all the time. In the other blog forum I undoubtedly went to far and I erased all of it. I realize it’s not really gone. It’s all out there somewhere. This is the Internet and there is no “erase” button. Still, I feel better not having it stare me in the face all the time. I’m much more careful on this blog where I am me and cannot hide anonymity. I think anonymity is probably the worst of Internet socialization. I used to think it was a cool thing. Now I think it’s dangerous. I don’t want to connect with caricatures of people. I want to the real thing.

      And, yes, like you I wish to make a difference. I want to say something meaningful. I wish to learn and grow and facilitate thought. When I hear that something I’ve said resonates with someone else, I feel like I’m on the right track.

      I loved your ramble. See, I’m rambling back! =D

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  16. Posted by Tim on November 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I wanted to wait awhile, to digest what you said before responding.

    I find myself wanting connectedness, like so many other people. That connectedness is what drives us to Tweet, or to FB, or to…who knows what? So is our electronic addiction to social networking a substitute for true human interaction? If we were really present when we were with other people, would we feel the need to connect electronically? Or do the electronics put up a barrier to being truly present when another person is with us in the flesh.

    I don’t know about others, but what I crave is intimacy, and when things get ‘hum-drum’ is when I find myself more online than those times when I am connected in real-time. Is that the way with other people? As I write this, my wife and I are both on our separate laptops, immersed in our virtual worlds, while having the TV on to a Star Trek movie to give us background ‘noise.’ But I know, after 30 years, that intimacy is something that is always in flux.

    That’s something that I have come to admire about you. You are able to engender intimacy through an electronic medium, whether FB, or MS, or something else. I read your responses to Chickee, Ileene, or Jay and can feel that intimacy that you have developed.

    So…kudos to you, not for just writing about this, but being intimate- here- in this space.

    Reply

    • What a cool, thoughtful comment, Tim. You ask some great, thought provoking questions about what drives us to socialize online. For me, the Internet put people in my life that I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to know.

      How would I have become friends with a factory worker in Pennsylvania who has an incredible gift of story, a wonderful, compassionate heart and quick mind. The Internet brought her into my life. The outer trappings of our lives are very different but we share a heart beat.

      How would I have come to know the Assistant Solicitor of Erie, Pennsylvania – a man who does stand-up comedy and sings in musical productions when he isn’t lawyering? Someone I interact with infrequently but who invariably makes me think? It would never have happened.

      And how would I have come to know a philosopher postman from Tennessee whose every word whispers God to me?

      The Internet has opened doors for me to connect with people who speak to my heart, mind, and soul in ways that I find rare offline. The reason is obvious, the pool is MASSIVE. It’s not that I don’t connect with people offline. I do! It’s just that online connections bring a richer dimension. My mind is ravenous. I need people who challenge me and make me think. The artist in me is hungry for the inspiration that other artists bring. You guys (yes, you, too!) have made me better. I have learned and grown and been sparked back to life when I was so close to just giving in, letting go… I came online and was reminded of who I really am.

      Yes, intimacy ebbs and flows in relationships. Those of us who have been married for a long time understand that and we flow with it. We don’t give up when it’s ebbed. We know it will come again. :) There are bills to pay and logistics to work out, so many things that need DOING that get in the way of BEING. That’s where I get burnt out. I will sit in a room with my family when they are watching a movie and I will interact online because I’m rarely ever engaged by movies. I’d rather sit and talk. They would rather not! We’re wired differently.

      I wouldn’t change my family life. I love working outside with my family. I love putting up a Christmas tree. I love playing games, horseback riding, hopping on a motorcycle with my hubby. I love it when we’re strumming and drumming and singing. All of it. Having the online connections rounds it all out, fills in the gaps. Sometimes. I don’t ever want online stuff to take anything away from my offline life though. And it can. It has.

      I am able to engender intimacy online, yes. Much more so than I do offline where I am so much more guarded. Offline, I ask questions and listen. I know people well, I think, but they don’t know me. That’s the biggest disparity between offline interaction and online, for me. I feel known online. There’s more reciprocity.

      Thank you for the thought-provoking comment, Tim. You add so much weight and depth to every conversation you engage here and I’m always grateful to see you. Thank you for coming, my friend.

      Reply

  17. Posted by Tim on November 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

    “You add so much weight…”

    Geez, Ai hopes naht! Ai has been on a dayut!

    Reply

  18. Posted by mikki on December 11, 2010 at 12:34 am

    so very glad to have stumbled upon you on FB because it led me here..have missed your thoughts and perceptions, Kate. I wasn’t a follower of your work for very long before you made the decision to leave myspace but it was long enough to feel the genuineness of your reaching..for that continual space..movement toward better, fuller, richer understanding and existence..And this particular posting is exactly that..I truly appreciate the fact that whatever the topic/thought you are exploring ~ you always seek the ‘wholeness’ of it..the good and the bad ~ And for whatever it’s worth, I think the periodic ‘off the grid’ moments you take away from all this cyber-connecting is the most healthy thing you can do..we all should do. It is as impactful (and fruitful) as we choose to invest it into being.

    in short, just glad to be reading you again :)
    blessings,

    mikki

    Reply

    • Mikki,

      I thought I had already responded to your comment but I see now that I haven’t. I’m so sorry! I haven’t blogged in months and I’ve been very off the grid recently.

      Anyway, I’m glad I “found” your comment!

      I have pulled back intentionally many times, wanting and needing time alone. I love people but I am quiet and contemplative by nature and I can’t think when there’s a lot of activity around me. I need quiet.

      More recently, the need to retreat hit me like I imagine Autumn hits a Grizzly bear that suddenly feels the need to find a cave and sleep. It was… a deep, primordial pull. I’ve rarely felt it to this degree before. All I can do is let it take me, trusting that it will eventually release me.

      I hope that I’m a better, kinder person when it does. Like you said, The periodic ‘of the grid’ moments are as impactful and fruitful as we want them to be. It’s all a matter of what we invest. (Paraphrase)

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. You’ve given me another moment of connectedness. I value those moments more than I have the ability to express.

      Reply

  19. And THIS! Dear God – how many other of your blogs have I missed?

    Ah well – I know you well enough to know there’s no judgement – and I appreciate that. As a fellow occasional off-the-grid-er I know we grok the dynamic of participation, both here and on FB.

    Such an interesting observation about cyber-relationships. I’m the same way, and I’ve known this for a while. FB is much more static than, say, a phone call, or *equally as bad* – instant messaging. You can form your thoughts there on FB – or here – without becoming ensconced in la-di-da conversations that go nowhere. When the shiny coloured balls beckon, sometimes the worst thing is to have be shackled to machine-grey conversational anchors.

    Reply

    • Yes, I grok it.

      I’ve always been a letter-writer. I wrote letters throughout my childhood and teenage years. I wrote letters when I was living overseas. Eventually, I was able to send and receive letters via fax and I loved the immediacy. E-mail came next and then the social networks and chats. But I would be communicating via the written word even if society hadn’t gone digital, because I express myself best in writing.

      Over time, as I have become more and more reclusive, the Internet has given me easy access to people without requiring that I step out of my comfort zone. Still, I don’t carry the Internet around with me. I don’t have telephone access, for instance, and I don’t own many electronic gadgets. I use my computer and it’s enough for me. Any more electronic connection than that would feel intrusive.

      And I’m much less plugged in than I used to be. I can easily go for a week without giving facebook a second thought. I started taking giant steps back when I realized, not very long ago, how socially awkward teens and 20-somethings tend to be. There’s so little eye-contact and so much mumbling. It makes me sad. We seem to be forgetting how to be WITH one another. And as easy as it is for me to inhabit a world of words and photographs, I’m willing to challenge myself to do the harder stuff occasionally.

      I’m glad you commented because I realized in responding to you that I have more I want to say on this subject. :)

      Reply

  20. Gosh, how I miss your musings Kate. This was one smart write and I am guilty of being a cell phone update freak. The world flows by me as I tappy-tappy-tap on my android! It can be an email, a text, or update on FB! HAHAHAHAHA! I actually have closer friends that live States away (you for example) than I do next door! It’s crazy how we have become addicted to the electronic age. LOL!! Great write Kate and I have more to read! Take care and keep in touch please!!

    Reply

    • I saw your name and smiled. :) Thank you for stopping by, Calvin. I’ve been very off the grid, as you likely noticed when my fb disappeared. I’ll be back eventually!

      Reply

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