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6 June 2000, 01:00

Ok, late is beginning to be a habit…

I am not a junkie. I am not an internet junkie. I don’t think, anyway. I can say that even though there is “evidence” that would contradict this. Evidence, up the butt, as you might say. I have the latest browser, optimized internet computer knowledge, a high speed dedicated line plus two dial up internet accounts, a complex web SITE, a web presence and a web persona.

One might say, I am addicted. I think one is wrong, though. I do think, however, that the computer and the internet activities take up about 70 percent of my time. I work on the computer, I play on the computer, and when I take breaks, its usually on the computer – sooooo it would be logical that I would just surf a bit, before going back to work. I am particularly fond of a BBS run by TIME/CNN. I’ve posted there for about 4 years. I’ve met people. I’ve formed relationships with people. I’ve been in fights with people. I’ve been harassed by internet psychos. It’s been, for the most part, fun and fulfilling though. And that’s the purpose of most of my internet exploits. Fun.

But, there are differences between the internet world and the real world -which makes the online reality more attractive to me. It is, for the most part, a effortless relationship with the web. No dressing up, no controlling body language, no face to face contact. All this takes supreme effort on most human beings part – to interact in a reasonable way. It’s easy to be likeable, or easy to be an ass when you have total control of the interface by which people have access to you. Total control of your persona, total control of what someone knows about you. Never has any activity of humans been so far removed from actual human interaction.

When the Television became a mainstay, a babysitter, a companion and an activity, the same arguments of addiction came up. The same arguments of validity (of this activity) came up. Although, now, the difference between the TV and the internet is we’ve removed yet another avenue of interaction. At least, with the television, one could see another human being, see the body language, feel more of the dynamics of interaction – albeit, as a passive bystander. Now, we’ve replaced even that small connection with emoticons and LOLs.

It is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as its only a PART of your human sphere of experience. Just like if TV was your only window to the world, or barflying was the only social interaction you participate in. I feel for those people who, for whatever reason, do not exit their homes or do not pry themselves away from the online world. What happens when the virtual world they’ve constructed for themselves falls apart? I’ve seen a poor woman come back again and again to the ruins of their virtual reality. I’m not sure what she’s expecting to find or wanting to do. It is sad when one’s world is gone, and one is left with no where to go, no one to be. I don’t even know why she comes back, when this virtual world has rejected her so obviously – maybe to wreak a little havoc, maybe to capture the attention she might crave, maybe to try and recapture her place and be accepted again. It’s evident that this brave new world doesn’t teach the life lessons that real life interaction would have shown this woman. How to accept and deal with others. How to deal with the consequences of being rejected. How to deal with moving onward and forward with life in general.

It is a microcosm of a fishbowl of a community, to be sure. One of many. These may be the last manifestations of the human need to form bonds and communities. Maybe that’s why those who are rejected by the “community” come back. Everybody wants to belong, and feel the security of the group. You never know, maybe its the saving grace of humans, that however far removed from each other we are, we will still strive to come together. Or maybe, we will all finally wise up, go outside and talk to our neighbors, or congregate with our families.

Although, as most know, I like dogs a bit better than humans…