Internet is the way forward.
People arrange appointments, chat, catch up with friends, arrange dates, meet life partners, and shop. Basically, anything that you used to need to interact in real life to achieve you can now do from the safety of your sofa, never actually seeing a person in real life if you don’t want to.
It makes life very easy, if you are, say, an agoraphobic, or a faker, have Asperger’s, or are a liar, or a fat person.
It makes life really complicated if you are an old person who needs to see eyes and faces. Who is deeply gullible and believes in closeness.
Because, www communication is designed to feel informal, and to build feigned intimacy. It’s full of hugs, and kisses, of personal detail, and slang. Things that, honestly, you don’t use in real life, with people you don’t really *know*. I mean, me, I chat. I help real life people with real life things which, were I on the internet, I would need to litter with hugs and terms of endearment. They don’t happen in real life, because, in real life, you are aware that you *don’t* really know the person, you *care* but you are not best friends. On the internet these two seem to be synonymous. They are not.
Like Facebook. You have “friends” on Facebook. Statistics say less than 10% of them will even bother to interact with you. Does this sound like friends? Does it, really? Is it why people think they are “close friends” if they like lots of pictures or send lots of hugs?
How much do you REALLY know about them though? I mean, some of them ARE real life best friends, and that’s one thing, but, outside of that?
And then there is the internet immediacy. Now, you can send a message thousands of miles in the blink of an eye, it puts added pressure on everyone. How are you supposed to get on with your REAL life and REAL friends? When are you going to interact with your family?
Of course, if you have a healthy selection of real life friends and family, these things matter less, because, you can through all manner of hugs and “likes” out there, never think about them again, and get on with your real life. But, if you have NO other people, it might be a bit more complicated. It might be harder work to work out who means what and how much you know about each person, and whether they are real or not.
And, people can laugh, and imagine that this would never be them. This makes the social minefield even more treacherous.
Who cares, if you can sit at home and laugh with your non genetic family member of choice, at the stupid people on the internet, while managing your real life joy and pain in SHARED reality? The internet is just a humorous diversion then. But what when it is not?
When it is the sum total of ALL adult interaction you experience in any given week, it becomes harder to manage. Because you have to remember that it is NOT real. It’s not, and feeling temporarily close is OK, but, when those people don’t remember any of your significant events, and, honestly, how much do you know about theirs? It’s not the same.
I guess, if you don’t / wouldn’t if geography wasn’t an issue, feel happy to pick up the actual phone and invite them round to your actual house, for coffee, then “friend” is questionable. And even if you would, your still in “new friend” territory.
It’s easy to over disclose, easy to imagine intimacy. But you still have to live your real life.
And that’s why Facebook is genuinely bad for my health.