Posted by Peter Lawler
Virtual frienship, or networking, is less risky and more reliable than face-to-face friendship. Virtual pokes end up hurting less than real pokes. So what’s the problem?
I just wrote an article on this, actually (not available online) -- basically an update of 1960s Marshall McLuhan (Media ecology) for the digital age.
I think the absence of consequence is one of the worst parts about digital relations -- it never forces us to enter into a high stakes repeat game with others, e.g., learn how to get along with others. Instead, it allows us to lock ourselves in increasingly compartmentalized interest groups of friends that we can enter and leave at will.
It also abstracts from a basic human need, I think -- the need for contact.
Anyway, I'll have to read the New Atlantis article. Thanks for the link.
Maybe it's like the difference between "Krab" and crab. The former is kind of nourishing and it sort of tastes like the real thing, but ultimately it's unsatisfying and if it becomes popular it will kill an entire industry.
I think this might be something that the entire readership of N.L.T. can agree on--the inherent worthlessness of all social networking sites.That said, I spend more and more time on them everyday. I really could use a graduate program.
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