Monday, January 23, 2006

Phone call - Good. Internet talk- Bad?

Do you have any friends you hardly ever see, but you talk on the phone, often? Do you ever get frustrated or upset during those conversations? If so, have you ever experienced anyone telling you there's something wrong with you if you let a telephone conversation upset you?

I haven't.

Lots of people have online friends and acquaintances that they hardly ever or never see, but with whom they have conversations on a pretty regular basis via instant message, e-mail, or message board forums. Have you ever heard one of these people get chastised for allowing a lowly internet exchange to make them feel bad or upset?

I certainly have.

Why is that? Both situations involve remote communication, yet only the online communication is regarded as something insubstantial.

I find this behavior particularly baffling from those who claim to love people they've never met or whom they've only had one "real life" conversation for every five hundred online conversations. The internet isn't some fad. It's been around for a good while now and more and more of us, these days, know people who have found acquaintances, formed friendships, and even fallen in-love with a name on a flickering computer screen. Not only that, but online relationships, the positive ones, anyway, don't have the same negative association in many people's minds - not like they used to. People meet online, chat for a while, and end up getting married and having children.

If internet communication is "real" enough and substantive enough to form strong friendships and loving families, why isn't it "real" enough for people to get a little pissed with each other once in a while?

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