Living Digitally: Watching From Afar
A common public fret is that social media is destroying the fabric of society. You’ve undoubtedly seen an image of two people – usually teens – seated together but each intent on a mobile device. The implication is that these hand-held hypnotizers are preventing the two individuals from engaging each other in enriching bonding activities.
There’s a good chance that they are texting friends, maybe making plans for a party later on, maybe sharing minutiae of the day. Why shouldn’t they? Why not interact with people who are important to you than with whatever random hunk of protoplasm fate has seen fit to plunk down beside you?
For example, I spent several days last week watching on online friend* ride in the UPHA Chapter 5 Horse Show in Kansas City, MO, over 700 miles from my house. Ahead of time, she let us know the livestream website and her classes. I was able to wish her good luck before her ride. I watched her ride in realtime, including checking out the strength of the competition. Afterwards, I was able to congratulate or commiserate as appropriate. She was kind enough to post a brief recap of the class from her point of view. Was the experience any less real for not sharing the same cubic space?
We don’t live in caves any more. We don’t rely on our neighbors to scare off the tigers and hunt the mammoths. Why not seek out kindred souls at a distance? Why not chose friends by inclination rather than by geography?
(*Per my standard operating procedure [At Least I Got A Blog Post Out Of It:Names], I have defaulted to anonymity. The individual in question may fess up in the comments if so desired.)