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    May 02, 2013

    Time again for the overly earnest love letter to the Internet

    Earlier this year I volunteered to be on the prayer team for a regional for-college-students retreat. Whenever we'd meet we'd spend a little bit of time sharing how we're doing, what we're feeling, what' we're SENSING - prayer team people can truly be touchy feely weirdos. Anyway, this one woman, who up to this point I had put on a pedestal*, busted out with something like, "I don't know guys, I just feel like our ONLINE CULTURE is something we should concentrate on, just how people aren't having REAL relationships, it's all FACEBOOK and whatever that Twitter thing is, and we're not leaving our homes and engaging with REAL PEOPLE -" I may have tuned her out at that point, lest my blood boil over and I Explode With Rage in the quiet peaceful prayer room. 

    Well, not really. I'm more of a Seethe With Rage type who then blogs about it later. And I took her point. We all know icky stories, right? But that whole viewpoint hasn't rung true for me at ALL, in fact it's been quite the OPPOSITE, and it was my love for my online community that caused me to break character and blurt out, "BUT IT'S BEEN SO LIFEGIVING FOR MEEEEEE." 

    Seriously, I think most of us here would say that the internet has UN-isolated us, right? Every single time a real life mom friend tells me she's struggling I say, "HAVE YOU TRIED TWITTER?" (Not helpful.) (Except it WOULD BE.) (Anyway.) 

    These last few days I've been helping figure out some Blathering stuff and once again I'm totally overjoyed by the flurry of sign ups. Caused, of course, by the fact that we decided to reduce the number of attendees and maybe that lit a few fires under a few undecided butts. GOOD. 

    Something else that was out of character - I loved the 60 person head count last year. Put a little wine in me and I become an extrovert, what can I say. And these were 60 people I REALLY wanted to meet! But it always helps to be one of the people throwing the party (why do you think I'm so devoted to my Christmas party and terrified of going to YOUR parties?) and also it was my third time. I was not afraid! I had great faith in awesomeness of the ladies of the internet!

    We cut it back to 40 mainly because the logistics were creating nightmares, but I'm pretty sure I'll love 40 even more than I loved 60. It totally absolutely sucks to not have everyone there who wants to be, but I'm hopeful I'll have more time with the people who ARE there. And just a note, for those of you who can't make it: I have a big house and several barely used air mattresses. That was a Hint. 

    I kind of want to drag Formerly On A Pedestal Prayer Lady to the Blathering (by her hair) and be all, "APPRECIATE THE AWESOME." Because of this group of ladies I have people who can answer questions when my kids are sick, who know how anxiety feels, who love the same books, who love to write, who send me presents when I'm bummed, who text me when they have a funny story, who chat with me during naptime, who un-isolate me. And they are always game for another glass of wine.

    Anyway, I felt like I was due for a Rah Rah Internet post. There you go. I should probably go do what I SAID I was going to do tonight, which is update the attendee list. FINE THEN. 

     

    *On a pedestal because, well, she's basically the sort of Pacific Northwest hippie mama I sometimes want to be, with the most beautiful voice, fantastic hair, a great sense of humor, kick ass mother of FIVE, wise, compassionate (except about the internet) AND SHE HAS A NOSE RING. 

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    Comments

    I met my husband on the internet. I've met friends all over the world on the internet, many of whom I only communicate with online, but who have supported and encouraged and motivated me. I've met people who in real life have become friends, on the internet. And I'm shy when I don't know people and do not introduce myself to strangers in real life. I cannot imagine the mess I would be if I'd had to go through these early years of motherhood stuck at home (since I share the car with my husband and lived until recently in a largely kid-less neighborhood) alone. I'm insane enough WITH my internet support people.

    Oh, and I'm going to school on the internet and it's no less difficult than school was in real life. Is it not real school because it takes place online? That's my same arguments with friendships.

    I so very much want to go, but I'm not sure the logistics will work out! What a fun time it would be, though...

    I have to think that the people who think like that have not really found their spot on the internet. Because I seriously...I get weepy to think about what my life would be like without the people I've come to know and love through our online connections. The internet saved me during late nights nursing, helped me get diagnosed for anxiety/depression, supported me during hard times, celebrated with me during good. The people "in" the internet are real people. And real friends.

    And I will always be grateful for them.

    I love this post and I want to SCREAM every time someone (usually in a church meeting) talks about "real" relationships vs people talking to each other online and ugggggggh let's be relational! in many ways! ANYWAY it is a rant for another day but I just want to say to your post YES YES YES a thousand times YES.

    (I have also recommended twitter to more than one lonely mom.)

    (I am also super excited about the Blathering.)

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