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Reflections

online interaction

Wired News has a editorial regarding online relationships that I found very interesting.
In my very limited experience, having a relationship via instant message, whether that is friendship or something more, is an extremely powerful medium. I’ll completely grant that it lacks the personal interaction, the personal touch. It lacks the ability to hear the sound of their voice, to see the twitches of the other person face and the “sense” that you experience when in the same room as someone.
At the same time, without the ability to be distracted, a solid conversation with someone online is pure. You can’t be distracted and point out some random person walking by. You can’t sit in silence, there is no silence. Sometimes it is easier to open up to the screen; you forget there is someone behind the screen on the other side. That ability to open up, without distraction, can bring people closer in new and profound ways.
I think, with fondness, of a friendship that I had that grew primarly through AIM. We knew each other in person and saw each other in person often; however, at night online, we discussed our days. We shared our joys and sorrows in such a deep and profound way that I can say that I knew that person better than I knew virtually anyone else, even myself. We never restricted our communication to IM. We used text messages, e-mail, phone, in person- alone and in groups. With all of that, IM communication was very important to enabling us to keep close connections to each other. Busy working on a paper? The IM window was still there.
Equally, with the changing dynamics that online communication is bring ing to us, it makes the traditional that much harder. As mentioned in the editorial, when a relationship- friendship or otherwise- dissolves, it is much easier to move on to the next day. There are fewer things to remind you of that person. I think this is a sad loss. While it is painful to be reminded of someone loved and lost, it strengthens us in a profound and special way. It reminds us of our true humanity, as scary as that is, and helps brings us to a more mature state of understanding that humanity. Or at least, it can do that if we are properly prepared to experience the mysteries of man.
Communication is key in any relationship. I truly believe that using our new means of communications can very much help build that foundation of trust that communication develops. It must be kept, as all the older forms of communication as well, in the proper context of who we are as a people and what is best for us to help guide us to true happiness.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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