Friday, March 10, 2006

digital sticks and stones...

The internet isn't always good. That's a big thing coming from someone so incurably addicted. By addicted, I mean - I will die if I don't have it! I mean, I don't even remember how to use a phone book. Newspaper? Pshaw. The internet is really quite invaluable - I use it to get my news, look up contact information, reserach future purchases, shop and communicate.

And that's where the problem comes in - using the internet to communicate... I know, I know, I'm communicating *right now* in my blog with you, my virtual fan club, in hopes that I can get my thoughts out of my head and onto this screen. But when it comes to friendships and relationships and the internet, what a double-edged sword it is.

A.D.D. Moment: Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie is the best make-at-home-potpie. Hands down. Mmm mmm good.

It's no secret to those who know me, I make friends quickly and fairly easily. Many of the friends I've had the longest are people I've met on the internet. I met my husband on the internet - and I consider some of the people I trust the most to be people I've never met (or met only once) in real life.

Man it's pretty incredible how we can communicate so quickly - I can IM you right now, snark, send you a link of that guy dancing naked to that song on a video... or I can write you a long, drawn-out email about how you make me feel. I can manipulate, assasinate, commend, build up and advertise everything about you in my blog. But is that really the best way to deal with life? Is the instant nature of the internet the best way to communicate?

Over the past year, I've become one of those people who believe that the interent makes communication worse, not better.

A group of friends that, a little over a year ago had fun together - are splintered now. Instead of acting like adults, picking up the phone, or going out for coffee, it was easier for me and the other people involved to just snipe back and forth in our blogs. Worse yet are the feelings that were stirred up when certain members of the group DIDN'T say anything when it was going on.

I used a previous blog to talk about work - my frustrations, but mostly about my enjoyment of that job and the fantastic friends I made there and our adventures. However, it ended up being a bad choice, and I ended up getting fired over a nameless, detailless entry about a co-worker.

You can even use the internet to excommunicate someone! Maybe you had a falling out or a misunderstanding - next thing you know, your comments aren't replied to that you leave for them in a blog. Then your emails aren't replied to. An invite is sent to an event and you're not a part of the list anymore. Digitial excommunication. Not such good times.

Thanks to the internet, you can have a day, week, month or year-long fight with someone you claim to "not give a shit about"! You can insult everything from their shaving habits to deaths of those close to them. You can use whatever you have as ammo to get the last word in.

Things you tell someone in confidence and in a time of need or weakness are pasted up for everyone to see - with your name on it. Sent around in an email chain or IM'd as the day's hot gossip.

Recently, my private and personal dirty laundry was aired in a blog. The parties involved were having a back and forth (and sideways) in the comments, all while I'm reading things that are embarassing, private and disappointing about myself in the text.

God bless communication! God bless the internet!

But even with all of that, I am sitting here, blogging and contemplating that next instant-gratification moment when I drop that IM or email and tell someone to.... well, I digress - but isn't that the point?
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Anonymous said...

Sometimes the internet does really suck... You and I have had our moments as a result of bad 'net communication too... But I think it boils down to both parties being willing to bury the hatchet and realizing that life is too short...

Of course, if someone isn't willing to let it go...

Or if someone is obviously creating chaos with complete disregard for a friend's well being...

It's best to just move on, as much as it hurts...

For me though, there aren't many things that are so unforgiveable that I wouldn't leave the door open for calling a truce.

Dr. Zoom said...

I think ... splunge.

Sarah said...

Yeah, I've experienced a lot of the things you mention, on both sides. It's amazing how much ridiculous, real drama can come out of blogging. And yeah, I've met and lost friends, too.

But you've got M and I've got S because of the 'net, and it's indirectly why we met too, so I guess it's not all bad. :)