Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Digital Life

I have friends, good friends, that (before my current job) I spent time with every week, and enjoyed their company and shared their lives, and only saw once a year for a couple of days in person. I have friends that I consider close, personal, intimate friends that I interact with on a regular basis that I haven't seen in years. I have, in short, a modern distributed social circle that closely resembles the current experience of many people of my generation (and younger).

When I read an article or hear a pundit moaning about the "impersonal" or "virtual" lives that some people live these days, wondering why they don't just put down their phones and talk to someone, I have to admit I question how these people live. If I'm using my phone, I probably am talking to someone -- though it's possible the conversation may be asynchronous -- about my day, or their day, or the recent political election in Canada, or the news out of Saudi Arabia, or the weather in Chennai, because my friends live in Canada, and the Middle East, and India, so these are things that directly affect them.

I see my friends posting selfies and I am so incredibly happy about it, because it's not an issue of vanity or some other misassigned put-down from an old grumpy white dude, but because it's a sign that my friends are alive and, if not well, at least willing to share their current experience. I'm glad people post selfies. It's a declaration that they are refusing to be erased, and I'm doing my best to make sure that these people are witnessed in their existence.

I use social media and texting and email and blogging as a way to maintain and expand my social experience in the world, and as a result I am not entirely surrounded by people who look and talk and think like me, which is a very, very good thing. And so I'm excited to go and see my friends and eat sushi and make obscure inside-baseball jokes about "threat" and "damage per second" and drink good booze and play good games with them, because I live my life in many ways, some of which involve me behind a keyboard.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing with my weekend.