Sunday, 25 January 2009

Fencing With 3000 Mile Foils

The nature of communication over the internet, or any text based form, even the old standby the 'letter' - remember them? - is a particularly thin form of communication. It stabs and breaks the skin over a small area, but often plunges quite deep, and bypasses most of the fluff and prevarication of the real world. We may flatter ourselves that we are being 'anonymous', playing a part, a persona, editing our personalities to be more entertaining or educational, or simply putting our best cheek forward to be slapped before turning the other, but we cannot help but reveal ourselves through not just what we say, but also what we omit.

To bolster this argument, everyone I've met who I first knew online for a good while were just how I imagined them - when I met them face to face as people. Of course all the irrelevancies were different - appearance, mannerisms, tics, what have you - but in essence the personality was familiar, and made the friendship aspect very easy.

I've had various arguments about the pros and cons of making friends using such a newfangled and dubious medium. But I think that one of the advantages of it is that like-minded people tend to congregate. I don't just mean mental health. It cuts out a lot of the pub bores who one would avoid like the plague.

In fact, we had some parents of a child at eldest boy's school around for supper the other day. Talk about wanting to slit your wrists with despair, boredom and irritation. Nothing in common except we had all managed to get sperm to talk to eggs. Pass me the shotgun.

So, to finish, and to stop winding up, and to wind up, here's a toast to the self-selecting memelogical great-minds-think-alike-a-pologicaticistical modern communications.

Shame to think it will probably all go kaput within our lifetimes!

Take care all, David


differentlysane said...

Actually I'd consider that the people on t'internet know be better than most people in 'real life', since I don't need to worry about losing my job etc.

I agree with the like minds congregating. I think it's a case of access to numbers of people. I grew up in a village, where there were no like-minded people, so moving to a city opened my eyes to that.

Take care,

Lola Snow said...

"Nothing in common except we had all managed to get sperm to talk to eggs. Pass me the shotgun"

That had me laughing so much my hands are still shaking. It's true though, I value my online friends like gold dust. They've pulled me out of more sticky situations than they will ever know.

I have the urge to end this comment "And God bless us every one...."

But I won't

Lola x

LoopyKate said...

You've just said so much more eloquently half or more of what I've been thinking about lately.
I've lost friends and allowed people to drift away with little more than the occaisional wistful wondering, but the idea that this portal into a cut-the-crap, spare the irrelevances, take-me-or-leave-me, waste not my time..realm of connecting with others could fold and dissapear in a puff of smoke is really rather too apalling to bear thinking on.

Terra Incognita said...

Ah, boy, how do you know how to put so eloquently what others muddle with stupid words?
A toast to it (but I don't drink, so it's water, or tea-which I have taken to drink without sugar thanks to you LOL).

lettersfromexile said...

>>Nothing in common except we had all managed to get sperm to talk to eggs.

Yoink! I'll be stealing that! Brilliant.

Like finds like on-line. You put it so well.

Although most peeps I've met on-line then IRL expected me to be forty-something and short. And also "a cross-between Muriel Spark and a small yappy dog." Can't help but think I must have been disappointing.

Do you ever wonder how different your life might have been if you'd sat at a different desk that first day of school?

Hannah said...

I'm concerned - have I missed something so incredibly tantamount to my current survival and reason to hoist my half dead carcass out of bed in the mornings? 'all fold and disappear in a puff of smoke'? Explanation needed before anxiety leads way to coronary please!
It'll be a fight to the death if the bastards try to take my invisble friends away from me!

troubled Han xxx

Abysmal Musings said...

Thanks everyone.

Differently - villages tend to have local-minded people rather than like-minded, I've found...

Lola - good old Tiny Tim...

Kate - yeah it'd be a bummer really...

La - ah, but which desk was it?

Terra - gawd... how did I manage that?

Hannah - but surely the collapse of civilisation will happen one of these decades... I've been waiting for ever so long! I reckon polar bears will be forced to eat all the telecommunication cables when the polar ice has all vanished and they can't hunt seals. Or something. Or on the bright side, perhaps we'll all be able to run bio-laptops from fermented potato peelings while gnawing on the blighted remnants of last year's runner bean crop.

Hannah said...

oh ok then, I thought there was some kind of impending doom I hadn't heard of that was going to render me laptop-less. But if it's just Global Warming and the extinction of humankind then I'm ok. I already looked into that stuff and decided it doesn't bother me. Just don't take my laptop.