The Fray Project: Keeping In Touch (Lifestyle)

Published April 12, 2012 by Teresa

To check out my April 2012 Lifestyle goals, CLICK HERE.

It’s interesting that on the day I scheduled to talk about my Lifestyle goals for this month, I came across this article from The Atlantic about Facebook and loneliness.

I never know how to feel about articles like this; articles that talk about how the internet is ruining society, because even though we’re more interconnected than ever, the lack of in-person human interaction will ultimately be the downfall of humanity. I never know how to feel about reports like this, because many of the wonderful, in-person friendships I now have I owe to the internet. I joined a theater company in New York, because I’d gotten to know its producer on a Liev Schreiber message board. I met three other good friends of mine on that same board, when one of them (hey, Cathy!) came to NYC to see Schreiber in a production of Othello, and I went with her and two other friends she introduced me to, and with whom I’m still friendly. They introduced me to still two other friends, and we not only hang out whenever one visits the other’s city, but we’ve traveled together, meeting up elsewhere. Every single writing gig I’ve gotten, editor I’ve met, several non-writing jobs I’ve gotten – hell, half of the dates I’ve ever been on – have all been thanks to first connecting on the internet.

And that’s just the strangers.

I hate the phone, generally. I’m bad at phone calls, and usually only use the phone to make plans, or if a friend calls with an emergency. The internet has allowed me to maintain a closer relationship with my friends and family than I ever would’ve been able to maintain on my own. When my sister joined Facebook, it was a revelation, and now we chat on there, or leave each other posts, pictures, etc. We keep up with each other online, which makes the times when we see each other in person more rewarding, because we don’t have to waste time “catching up.” We can get right into the thick of things without preliminary small talk! When I moved to L.A, I had an already built-in network of about 15-20 people before I even got here, all because I’d gotten to know them through my writing on the internet. They are now becoming in-person friends.

My goal in April (and for the next few months) is to keep in touch with a select list of 10 people in New York over Google Hangout or Skype, and a select list of L.A. people I know in-person. Google Hangout and Skype are MIRACULOUS. I hate the phone, but I love these things, because it allows me to feel like I’m in the room with people I care about, which is wonderful. PS – Facebook also has video chat. :)

This article has one thing right – online contact isn’t a replacement for in-person human interaction. But when used properly, the internet can enhance and improve in-person human interaction, both improving your relationship with your loved ones, and bringing new people into your real-life sphere. The internet means you’ll always have a couch on which to crash wherever you go, you’ll always have people who wonder what you’re doing, and that even if you leave home to follow your dreams, you’ll always be able to be close to the people you love most. Screw the haters. The internet is wonderful.

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