One thing I can say about the Internet Life that I lead is that I have many dear friends I never see. Or very rarely. That’s how it is with my friends in CT. I’ve known them for over ten years now, but I have only seen them live and in the flesh twice. It sucks that this country has no major light rail. I would be able to visit for a day and not even have to worry about boarding my dogs. Travel in the USA is just damned expensive.
Though it does make me sit back and marvel at how much being social has changed in the past twenty years. Friendship circles are more like widely cast lines and being a part of a community no longer just means the one that you physically live in. I first got a computer in 2000, it was my present from my whole family when I started college. I remember how strange the internet felt and it taught me how important conversing with clear thoughts could be. I could research, read, and hear from people who had vastly different lives than my own. I learned to be very self reliant with google, with testing waters, and with collection of data.
I’ve used online journals to role play, to commune with others, and to just enjoy someone else’s point of view. I’ve watched as the community online both ages and gets younger and I am continually amazed at how different people use different forms of social media. I’m comfortable knowing that there are certain ways to role play that I just don’t have time for (Tumblr, Twitter, I’m looking at you) but I tried them. For me, the internet is about experiment and communication. As an introvert I like the idea that I can not have to verbally speak to someone or be physically close to someone to speak with them. I can do other things while I’m chatting like cook, clean, or play with my pets and not be thought of as rude. It’s also far cheaper to chat online than it is to go out and visit others.
It’s good that people who aren’t able to go out and socialize CAN now. And it’s good that people don’t need to be continually plugged in if they don’t want to. I still go out with my local friends and fly out to visit my non-local ones. But the fact that I don’t NEED to see people in the flesh every day means that I don’t ever feel overwhelmed. The fact that I can still COMMUNICATE when I want to means that I don’t ever feel lonely. It’s a really nice compromise for someone that adores silence most of the time and people the rest.