Friday, June 19, 2009

The Strange World of the Internet

I am struck lately by our obsession with all things internet. Now, mind you, I am not preaching here. I have fallen victim to overuse at times myself. And I tell myself that if I were not cruisin' the net while watching t.v., I'd just be watching t.v. which I can't stand to do without something else going on. For some it's just an outright addiction. And as I peruse blogs, Facebook, websites, etc., etc., I am feeling just a little creeped out by this whole "putting your life out there for all the world to read." I have a blog and at times, I probably say more than I should or than anyone would really want to know. But there are people who literally put every intimate thought on an internet page that any stranger can read. And people who "chat" with other people who have the same interests, but will never ever meet. Why do we do that?!

My theory is this: part of the reason is that we long for connectivity and we have become so independent and disconnected with people that we are satisfied with internet "friends". Never actually "talk" to them, just watch and maybe message them. It's easy to put a completely different personna out there and hide behind our computers. Another theory: we use it as an escape from what we really need to be doing or from the stresses of every day life. It's an avoidance technique. Neither of these reasons is really that healthy.

I'm NOT saying it's all bad for sure. I have reconnected with childhood friends, stayed in touch with people I would not have in any other format, allowed it to become my "letter writing" for family and close friends. It has helped me to get to know people I already know better and to find out we have things in common that draw us together. But it still strikes me as a little weird. Do I really need to know every detail of what's going on in the world and in the lives of people I don't know? What is it about the human condition that we are so compellingly drawn to all things internet? Are we that bored with our real lives?

Do you have sites you visit or people you chat with that no one knows you have? And why is that? Do you spend hours reading blogs of people you will never meet? What is it you are afraid you are missing out on? Do you not have enough real live relationships in your life? What is it about your past that you can't move on from?

Again, a disclaimer here: I ask this because I have found myself searching to see if I can learn what happened to people from my past. Some of them it would be fun to see again, but I probably never will and many I wouldn't care to. I have looked for people who share my interests - do I not have enough people around me that share my interests? I have sought out information about people whose lives are train wrecks - celebrity or otherwise. And thus, my curiosity about our human curiosity.... something to ponder.


At June 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM , Blogger Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

You know, when Sean was born, I was working full time, didn't have a church family, and knew FEW people who had babies. The email loop "april moms" that I started with then (and am still a part of almost 11 years later!) was an amazing resource, and "companion".. I HAVE met many of those women in real life and consider them among my best friends.
Part of my "love" of all things internet now though, outside of the feeling called to blog (which we've discussed a bit) is how CONVENIENT it is. I can make connections, however small and fleeting, with you, Julie R., Glenn, etc without having to find a babysitter for the kids and/or leave the comfort of my living room!!
It does NOT mind you, REPLACE those friendships. I still see you & julie etc, talk on the phone.. I do have to work hard to keep balance as I can turn to the computer quickly when I should be speaking to my husband or turning to God but all in all I've found it to be a positive thing.

At July 1, 2009 at 7:36 PM , Blogger Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Cath, a blog I follow recently made a similar post (and I sent her over to yours!).. Thought I'd give you her link just in case you were interested..

(ha, ha, my word verification is: utipsy.. Uh, not yet, it's early... ask me after the kids are in bed. Oh wait,I drank the last wine cooler yesterday.)


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