Sunday, 5 August 2007

Antisocial?

I was catching up with friends today, a hot chocolate in the afternoon sun by Sydney harbour. Stunning it was. Unusually for The Frenchman and I, we were early, so we had the chance to just absorb the rays, watch the sun glistening around the harbour and order from the overpriced menu. We hadn't seen our friends since before our European holiday and were keen to catch up.

They arrived later than planned a little embarrassed - but we didn't care - and asked about our trip. I asked if they had seen our travel blog (linked above) with all the details, to which they responded a little embarrassed, 'some of it... '. I joked that they should have done their research prior to catching up! And defensively one of our friends objected that the net is impairing communication, and personal interaction... kids are growing up with inadequate interpersonal communication... (I probably glazed over about here)... and that we were there at that moment to in fact divulge those details...

Maybe I hit a nerve, but I regarded the travel blog as a personalised series of postcards, that could perhaps stimulate more conversation - and felt a little affronted at the remarks made. While I challenged his assertions, I didn't really pursue it with much gusto. We could in fact discuss out holiday in more detail, and I wasn't in the mood to discuss the pros and cons of electronic communication as he and I have distinctly different points of view and are similarly stubborn with them. As it turned out, we were diverted to other topics reasonably quickly - and the holiday fell by the wayside.

I still much prefer one on one communication live and in the same location - but I find the net a particularly good way of learning things about people and the human condition that I might not otherwise know. Living out here in the sticks - I often don't get to see friends on a daily basis so the net helps me keep in touch. Blogging of course is great for that as those of us who write and interact in them will know. Am I becoming a less social person? I don't think so. But stubborn as I am - maybe I'm wrong?

3 comments:

Martin said...

Everything in life is about moderation and self discipline - the net only encourages one to be anti-social if you allow it to. People are fast to blame technology, but forget personal responsibility and accountability. If your kids have inadequate interpersonal communication skills perhaps you should evaluate the affectiveness of your parenting?

I actually think the net encourages positive social interaction, it has opened us up communicating with people across the globe on a daily basis and grants us the ability to contact family and friends instantly, where a century ago we would only chat to them at weddings and funerals.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who were raised without the internet I think that we have a healthy attitude towards the virtual world. The generations after us have a different set of values and attitudes and that worries me too. The skills of social interaction and conversation are being eroded and we will start to notice it more in the coming years.

Joe in the OC said...

I have had a very well publicized website for two years with links to my email for those who wish to contact me and ask questions or give me information. Everyone I know has access to it.

Still...You would not believe the number of people who will honestly tell me to my face that they can't get ahold of me or that I'm difficult to get in touch with! I just stare at them like they are f'n retarded often with my mouth agape. Unbelievable.

I think some people are just resistant to technology and choose to remain aloof and out of touch with reality. Their loss.