(edited and re-titled. original: connectivity, 4/10/2008)
it was something like 5 years ago already since i submitted my social-anthropology paper about online chat. two things that still resonate in my head, two irresistible characteristics on online communication – anonymity and control.
anonymity releases you from the risk of criticism. or at least they can’t say bad things “in your face.” you can hide your reactions and carefully craft your responses. you’re “free” to project an image that is closer to your ‘ideal you.’ or hide behind a photo of your preferred self.
control means you can just disappear anytime. stop chatting the moment you don’t feel like it anymore. quit replying to a series of email conversations. or disappear form friendster or myspace altogether so the world wouldn’t find you. only, you’re hoping they’d miss you, somehow.
control means you can gradually come out of your shell. (hopefully, you can soon step out of it.)
i get online almost everyday. (it comes with my line of work as a web content officer.) i sometimes get messages in my friendster inbox from people i don’t know (frequency varies depending on the profile pix i post. lol.). of course i don’t reply. (why “of course”? well that will be for another blog entry…) some of my strongest friendships were a result of online communication (chat & email). in fact, two of them even became more intimate than some “in person” friendships due to the frequency (regularity) and depth of our conversations. (but these were with friends i already met in person before we started connecting ‘online.’)
so it must be that the internet is not only a place to hide but also place to disclose oneself. somehow, for those who make themselves available to listen and to share their lives, friendships are inevitably formed. the absence of pressure allows a person to take his or her time and then in taking that time, he or she is able to share what he has to share…
but for many, seeking ‘connection’ has become an insatiable pursuit. no amount of connections satisfy because of a deep hunger “to be known.”
hear me. see me. understand me. feel me. digg me? i am deep and fathomless, will you find me pleasing? i am all this and all that, will you find my company enjoyable? there is a sense of infinite possibilities, of unlimited personalities, and many come searching for one… perhaps one, just one, who might perfectly fit the complicated angles of your chiseled soul. there happens an endless pursuit for REAL connection – whatever that is.
plug me in and electrify my life. we’re looking for that power plug. whose holes are a perfect fit, like a keyhole and key combination. we know we’re special, but the perfect fit has to qualify that. if the internet is ‘the world’, then it has to be there somewhere…
but, i dare say that such a connection that would satisfy EVERY craving to be seen and understood cannot be found. at least not in someone mortal. here i go (again?) =)
i’ve found a connection worth stepping out of my shell for.
i write songs. i write poetry. i torture my guitar when i am deeply engrossed in expressing my heart. i bang on the keyboards. (haha.) i shout. i scream. i cry, puddles. all for mim. and then he sings back. love songs unheard of. WE CONNECT. 😉 it is beyond earthly description.
i see a generation wanting to *connect*. the kids and adults of this age are hungry for a perfect match. a synergistic fit. a consummation. it’s the closest word i can think of. consummation… ever wondered why people run to drugs and sex? consummation. but it leaves them empty. run to the net. still it leaves you empty. because you will never be UNDERSTOOD by anyone COMPLETELY except for the one who created you INTRICATELY.
He loves me through song because it is the language closest to my heart. And He speaks all languages. and He will satisfy your hunger. and He will speak a language that’s dear to you. even if you don’t go online. 😉
(His name is Jesus.)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:15-16