Occasionally I get asked why I "waste my time" writing blogs on the web, and being part of forums, and facebook and the like.
Usually, these questions come from people who can barely tell the difference between a boat anchor and a computer. Yes, folks, there are still people who don't own computers and don't have Internet access-- and have no interest in changing that. They will never read these words, so I feel fairly safe talking about them here...
"Why don't you get off the computer and get a LIFE?" they ask.
Then they seem to back away slightly, as if someone who uses a computer has a contagious disease.
It's a mystery to them that I actually make a living (as it may be), using my computer, buying and selling things from vendors and customers I have never met-- and probably never will meet. When I explain that I actually do meet some of the people I know from "inside the box" they seem to feel horrified.
But I digress.
I write bloggy things and get into other online activities because I like to write. Moreover, I find the interactiveness of writing in this medium "differently rewarding" than I find writing in a journal with pen and ink. Which I also do.
The other day, I was watching some video clips of different "internet people" and social anthropologists, talking about the development and evolution of how we interact, as human beings.
In the "early days," the predominant speculation (or was it fear?) was that the Internet would end up homogenizing the world into a colorless, borderless "soup" where everyone is the same. That we would lose all sense of unique identity and language would slowly evolve into Sino-English mush. And that we would become "de-humanized," and just a number.
25 years later, the song seems to have changed. The social anthropologist types are now more of the belief that the Internet is helping us all return to a more "tribal" system of communication and interaction. Moreover, they are arguing that this is actually what "comes natural" to us, and it was how the world worked until the Industrial Revolution came along and automated, standardized, mass-produced and averaged how we approach things. Now we have a technological system that allows us to connect and gather in "special interest tribes," ranging from "folk dancers who speak Polish" to "collectors of blue feathers."
Or, as the case may be, "people who like to write."
I like to write, but I also like interacting with my Tribe. The Tribe of People Who Like To Write.
Actually, I like to interact with my Tribes.
From students of metaphysics, to beach combers, to enneagram enthusiasts, to stamp collectors, to nature photographers, to eBay entrepreneurs, highly sensitive people and many others.
Never before, in the course of Human History, has it been so easy to reach out and connect with others who share an interest, a belief, a hobby, a pathology(!) or a lifestyle. Perhaps what puzzles (and worries) my non-technological friends is that the "language" used to describe what "having a life" means has changed, and is continuing to change. Most significant of these is the subtle shift of getting to know people "from the inside out," as opposed to "from the outside in."
Meanwhile, I simply like to write.