Based somewhat on my thoughts about Steve Betz’s post on a film called “Catfish”.
It’s about friendships and other relationships by way of the Internet, to give you the gist of it. Personally, I am preferring these online interactions to local stuff, as of late. Just to reference a thread on the post:
Hangaku Gozen wrote: Having lost the close ties of a small town or extended families, perhaps we have now the internet to create new ones.
I wrote: I think it might be a two-way effect, but I’m not really sure. I think societies, particularly affluent Western ones, are becoming much more insular. Are we coming online because local communities have broken down? Or are communities breaking down because more people are online?
HG: My primary-care doctor said she thought people who spend too much time online were depressed. That might be true: as you start shutting down emotionally, you may start turning more and more to the internet partly to escape, and partly because it’s easier to chat or email people than have to talk to them face to face…But I find my internet relationships stimulating and fun…And because of the internet, I’ve gotten more active in my community: it’s easier to find out what’s going on, and what opportunities are out there. So it’s like so many other things we have at our disposal: it’s what you want to make of it.
Steve: …It’s funny, but when I travel I find myself wanting to go see my blog friends maybe more than some other “old school” people that I know…
Me: It seems sadder the deeper I try to look at it. I was talking with my therapist/counselor yesterday. I *do* have a mental illness and some trauma issues I’m still working on, but basically, it is getting harder and harder to connect in my local community. I have been working with her to get involved as such. I noted that my local area does NOT have very much of an Internet presence, and joked, “They are probably all on Facebook.” She strongly agreed: “They are!” and we talked more about how residents just seem so… insular. I mentioned what my gamer/geek friends and family had said about our local convention of late… The consensus seemed to be that the local community is in a rut and doesn’t seem to want to climb out. Many are becoming weary of being involved in the con as it’s growing too big, but there is no branching out to separate conventions, the community seems cliquish and not doing much to recruit new folks, etc.
There is more to the conversation, but I’ll let you read more on that, dear readers. In short: I like where I live. I come down like a ton of bricks on hipsters that dis my area as The Ass End of Nowhere and shit like that, but… sadly, I must admit the reputation isn’t totally unfounded. We can’t help that we’re off the beaten path right now (read: I-5 freeway), but… people are INCREDIBLY insular here, and I would bet that a majority are INDEED mulling on Facebook and won’t branch out into anything more exciting the Internet has to offer.
My therapist is trying to get a men’s group started at Bethel church. I balked a little bit, mostly because I am wary of mainline Protestant churches that have a big, “feel good” presence. I fear … well, I fear the taint of authoritarianism and the Moral Majority. But she’s got a good idea going: I’m just not getting what I need at my own church. I don’t mean I’m going to leave the LDS faith, but I do mean that my ward, my local congregation… it’s not enough. They are in a “when is it going to be someone else’s turn to help?” phase as of right now and I’m just not wanting to ask them for any more assistance.
As I just said… the gaming/geek/SF/fantasy/etc. community here has a similar problem. My wife badly wants to start gaming in RPGs again, but, the last player we had at our games was TERRIBLY flaky.
Generally… I am spending a lot of time online because I don’t have many options offline. I don’t think it has to be that way, but I am digging and not coming up with much.
Please note: once again, as this is a more personal post, it will be handled in the usual time-sensitive manner. (Please ask if you have arrived here on my invitation and didn’t get my explanation on that.)