Friday, December 29, 2006

Digital Friends

In some ways, I love how technology has changed the face of this world. I now have the chance to connect with people all over the world, develop friendships and consider the points of view of as many different people as I can find. I like how I can throw my cell phone in my purse and still make my phone calls while I run to the grocery store. It's a good thing! I turn 34 tomorrow (I know it sounds old but it totally isn't!) and I remember getting our very first computer with huge floppy disks that were 8 inches across. Now, I have to upgrade my computer and cameras every few years simply because the technology moves so fast.

Time Magazine declared that you are this year's Person of the Year. "You. Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world." Interesting to think that common people with everday ideas now have the chance to influence culture in a new and unique ways, simply because of the technology.

But reading the article I can't help but wonder what God thinks about all this technology. While there are many great and wonderful parts to it, I wonder how "people" are doing with their regular face to face relationships. Growing up, I was the new kid constantly because we moved around. I had to make new friends every few years. And it wasn't easy. Real life friends see parts of you that digital friends don't. They see the good, the bad and the ugly. Online you can just stay quiet or stop blogging and IM'ing for a while if you're going through a rough time. (Uh, yeah - I've totally done that.) But you can't hide from real friends.

The thing is, I would imagine that we just don't have as much influence in the cyber world as we might think. At least not enough to give up on developing real life relationships. Because in the cyber world - everyone has an opinion. Everybody gets a chance to spout their point of view or make a comment about anything they want. And those opinions, comments and points of view are just as easily dismissed if the person reading doesn't have the same opinion. But in real-life relationships, others get to see the deeper side of who you are and what you believe in a way that affects them. Maybe even challenges them.

So even though I love being online and responding to e-mails and blogging and all of that good stuff - I want to encourage you to seek out new friends. The real, living kind. Yeah, it takes time to get to know someone. Expand your circle just a little and make room for some new people this coming year. I really have been doing this myself the last few months and it feels great! Trust me:-)

And if you want to chat here's a question for you: Of all your relationships - how many are "real" and how many are the digital kind?


Jenny B. Jones said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Just curious if you had read any Neil Postman on this. "Amusing Ourselves To Death" and "Technopoly." "The Disappearance of Childhood" would be good too, specifically for the general audience of your blog.

T. Suzanne Eller said...

I recently heard this comment: you discover your REAL friends when you disconnect totally for a month. Acquaintances and online friends will narrow or completely disappear, while your real friends stay connected to you even if they have to call you on the phone and come see your in person. So, your 1096 facebook friends might actually be 5 real friends when unplugged.