I am interrupting my vacation memories reporting to bring you some other thoughts percolating through my head. 🙂
There are people in my life who consider internet friends not real.
Most ‘real’ people in my life consider all things social media ‘fake’. Essentially, they consider a person I ‘met’ through a blog or social media as ‘not a real friend’ and thereby ‘fake’.
As if meeting in physical life is a prerequisite to authentic friendship.
I am not one of those people.
We’ve talked many times here in my blog and also in the comments of other blogs how the community aspect (in the form of comments, mostly) invites dialogue that helps us to expand our horizons. In some ways, this is especially true for those who consider themselves introverts (regardless whether others see them as such, or not).
I know one thing: I have embraced technology enthusiastically.
Partly, this is because since I was a little girl, I’ve always liked the neatness that is the typed word. I loved typing on typewriters, especially on the fancy Smith Coronas. 🙂
When WordPerfect came out I was in heaven. THIS is how I want to write…insert things in places without having to get rid of (erase, rewrite) things I had already written, move paragraphs around relatively easily, and all that stuff.
Microsoft of course made things even simpler with Windows and today, kids are mandated to use Google Classroom (drive, and office apps) pretty much without choice, or thought, of doing otherwise.
I love texting. I love apps, and the ability to send pictures to people. I love its instant-ness.
Recently, while travelling, I had world clocks on my phone: Zurich, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Toronto, London, Edinburgh and a couple of places in the USA that are not part of my time zone as well. I have an international family who live in different parts of the world, plus many friends who live in different time zones. If I get a WhatsApp or something from someone I always check my clocks first to see what their time of day is at that moment. Should I bother responding now or are they on the way out the door to work, or to bed?
I love this part.
I love the part that connects me to family, and friends, in ways that I wasn’t able to when I was younger.
I also keep thinking back to adolescence: when I was a teenager I suffered social isolation more so than other teenagers due to the fact that I had residual side effects from a serious childhood illness (some hearing loss that fluctuated during the hormonal changes of adolescence).
Back in those days, teenagers yearned to have their own phones. Remember that? Remember the long cords on phones back in the 80s?
For me though, it was a hit and miss situation. Some days I had a hard time hearing, other times, I didn’t. If the phone rang for me on a day that wasn’t good, I couldn’t socialize.
It was annoying. Looking back, I would have loved to have access to texting then…
Teens in the 80s used to grab the phone and disappear into a closet or someplace private and have lengthy chats about nothing of importance. I was not one of those teens (and we had one phone, and five people, three of them teens, living in the same house).
Texting, group chat and all the rest of it makes it easier today to stay in touch with friends, to degrees (or also harder, depending on how you look at it). But it doesn’t come without challenges.
For us parents of teens today, we can remember a time when people were not plugged in all the time, or constantly bombarded by never-ending social media fluff. But we also remember a time when we would have liked the idea of connection whenever we felt like it. After I moved to Canada from Switzerland at age 11, I would have loved staying in touch more frequently with friends and family than was possible through snail mail. (Although I got some amazing snail mail letters…)
Having said that, because I grew up without it, I can still maintain a certain amount of perspective with today’s connectivity.
AND, I can embrace the technology today and what it gave me that I didn’t have before.
I have connections now that I didn’t when I craved them as a teen and young adult through the digital technological advances. I love that part. I also love the part that allows me to ignore a text or email when I’m not up for socializing. A ringing phone has a much more urgent implication in some ways than an app on a smartphone (for me, anyway) …
It’s impossible for me to explain how much of a difference this has made in my life.
Also, I have made friends I can claim as ‘true’ friends despite the fact I have not met them in real life. How many of you do I have an email or chat relationship with?
I love that part.
I hope you do, too.
Unfortunately those who don’t have that (or choose not to want that) sometimes make the assumption that my way is wrong or not good or fake.
The worst part? They will say those things while I’m sitting with them, listening to their conversation.
But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I’m content with how I choose to socialize now, and I certainly don’t feel the need to explain it to anyone.
Blogging about it is different though 😛
That’s because a blog post of this nature invites dialogue and conversation in the form of comments. An exchange of ideas and perspectives. So go ahead, bring forth your opinions. Let’s hear what you think!