AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 7/14/2002 04:43:00 PM ----- BODY:
I'm lonesome. Look at all these buddies on my AIM buddy list, and only three are on. One of those three is me and the other two have away messages. Why, God? Why?? Judy likes to tease me about my AIM addiction. She says I'm like an electronic crack addict. e-crack. Nice. When is somebody gonna invent that, anyway? But I digress. Look, I have a need, people, is that so wrong? I have a need to be connected at the touch of a button. If I'd had to live in the era before e-mail, blogs, instant messaging, wireless networks, etc., I think I would've died of frustration. Either that or the corporate evil of the modern world has saturated my brain to the point where I only think I need to be so connected. I guess your interpretation depends on which UMass campus you go to. My favorite radio talk show host (ok, the only radio talk show host I actually listen to, but among those available he's my choice and therefore my favorite in a way) Steve LaVeille, is always spurring us listeners into impassioned debate with the question, "Are we just too available to each other nowadays?" Between cellphones and pagers and Palm Pilots and Blackberries and IM and e-mail and fax machines etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, we probably are. But we never meet anymore face to face. Now it's all about teleconferencing, virtual meetings, I'll have my pager call your SUV. So in a way, we're more available and but also more remote. You can turn off the IM, ignore the pager, put the cell phone on silent much more easily than you can slam a door in someone's face or give someone a shove as they approach you. And come on. Show me the person who says that they've never wanted to do just that at least once in their lives, and I'll show you the kind of person that has been the subject of my thoughts in this direction. I think that Instant Messenger is merely the embodiment of my ideal form of communication. Communication with an out, a parachute, a trap door, an instantaneous off/on button. Communication on my terms. It's not like you can walk by a person you know if you see them in the street without saying hi, but every day there are at least two to three people appearing on my buddy list that I choose not to talk with, because I simply don't feel like it at the time. And there are no hard feelings. Now that's power. Of course, on a day like today, when no one is available for me to virtually shun and/or greet, all of that goes straight to hell. It is pretty sad, actually.