Well, here we go! I love the Internet and have flirted with the idea of a blog for awhile. I know I love to read the thoughts and feelings of others brave enough to put themselves out there but fear on a number of levels has held me back. This week however I have been following the Twitter, Ashton Kutcher v CNN movement with interest. It has led me to thinking about how I view the connections I seek and make on the Web.
I am a Facebook fan and love Twitter too. I read a number of blog’s regularly and I’ve made a great friend shopping on Ebay. Most of the news I consume comes to me via the Web, and I use the term ‘news’ loosely, to cover current events sites, googling for further information or watching clips on YouTube. I felt a buzz that I had seen the Susan Doyle clip before the TV stations picked it up. And I was following Ashton before the race to a million! I feel at home here and while I don’t pretend to have more than a basic working knowledge I feel like I should formalise my commitment to this brave new world. So here we are! I am excited to be a part, if only a teeny one, of it all!
I am also interested in the discourse around the reality or the validity of the interactions between people on the Web. As I said I use social networking sites, I’ve tried internet dating, and I use instant messaging all to make or maintain relationships. Most of the time I am using them to enhance real life relationships but I have had relationships that started off online and spilled over into real life too, and they have been just as meaningful to me. Depending upon your definition of a relationship I also have connections on a regular basis, and of varying qualities with people I will never meet in person but who I would miss if they disappeared from my days.
Of course people can and do portray themselves falsely on the Net. My response is that people do that in real life too. I’ve heard the argument that the Web makes it easier to practise to deceive but it also makes it easier to be who your really are I think. I am not a social butterfly. I find social situations strained, awkward and painful but I find people fascinating and love to learn more about them. The Web is great for that!! I think also there is a certain intimacy about connecting with others on the Web. From my experience it breaks down barriers or maybe perceptions we have of others. I think it also breaks down barriers within ourselves, certainly my exploration of the Web has correlated strongly with my exploration of myself. So, maybe we are not just being who we are but also who we really want to be? I think that is what I have come to admire about Demi and Ashton, they are molding their own images. Or is it breaking down the images others have of them? Whichever it is they are connecting with people across the globe in a real and measurable way- whether you are counting followers on Twitter or anti-malaria nets.
From where I sit this can only be a good thing. Sure, it’s open to abuse but everything is. People communicating, connecting, coming together- I say however we do that is a good thing!!