In case you’re wondering how the Internet Friends meetup went, well, it was a laugh, to be sure. Some of the things that came up:
- Meeting people online isn’t different from meeting in real life. Sometimes you’re more direct, sometimes you’re less direct, sometimes you’re chatty, sometimes you’re not. But it’s like you wave first, and then you go over to someone to say hello. You don’t just go around saying hello to every single person and thinking that counts as a “relationship.”
- What about the human touch? What about phermones?
- You might not be the kind of person who likes to email to get to know someone. You’re not a writer, say. So, then you can have a rule, you can say, “I’m a one-email kind of guy,” advised Margot. Or you can send a video email, suggested Victor. These were things that were new to the rest of us. But the modes of communications are there as modes. They don’t substitute for the communication’s content.
- Turnout for this was small in real life, but the INTEREST online prior was much more. That said something to me. I think it’s really awesome that we got to have this dialogue, though, because those of us who were there got to hear about what’s tough or what’s interesting about online connections. Mostly, we’re all looking for the same thing: to be “gotten.” And let me explain that a little bit…
- Before this event, I met a psychologist hanging out in a cafe, and I asked, “Do you think we need internet to make friends?” And she stopped, and looked at me, then looked somewhere else and seemed to get her answer, and said, confidently, “It depends on the kind of friends you want to make.” That was it. Spot on. So, whatever you want by “getting got,” is what I mean. Here at OS, we strive for actual intellectual connection and conversation, and sometimes we see that it’s super esoteric and unpopular and people would rather, you know, watch Monday night football, and THAT’S COOL.
Upshot: The Internet gives us avenues, an undreamable quantity, to connect with people in ways we couldn’t possibly have reached were it not invented. But what it subracts is the kind of thing that happens when you bump into people and spark a conversation WITHOUT KNOWING THEIR MEYERS-BRIGGS personality test results AHEAD of time. Intriguing, fascinating and delightful conversation. Thanks again to our amazing guest panelists, you guys rocked. 🙂
PS The person who is a psychologist was talking to a friend of hers, which is how I got to overhear and cut in. And the friend was like, “The Internet is GREAT! You can find people who think about things EXACTLY THE SAME WAY YOU DO!” And the psychologist said, “That’s what I mean. Depends on the kinds of friends you want to make.”