Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There's a word for it ... Virtual

(ed. noteThis was edited 10/17/2008, as I realized that there were a good number of sentences that didn't make sense due to typos and partial re-writing of sentences that I did not catch before posting originally. LEK)
I seem to have been averaging about 5 or so posts a month for the last 6 to 7 months. At first I thought I may be rethinking the nature of my blog and what I wanted to be doing with it as has been the case in the past when I tapered off in posting regularly. However, other things have been going on I think. I have never been good at keeping in regular contact with people at a distance, or even just people within the same geographic region but with whom I have no regular reason to see them: say like church or work or a group to which we both belong that meets regularly. I get caught up in those things that demand my attention most immediately and suddenly realize that weeks or months or even years have gone by without much contact or communication. A few months back I finally gave into the Facebook phenomenon and am now on Facebook. I had hoped that might help with this keeping in contact. And I did end up having people as my Facebook friends whom I have not seen or communicated with in years (...or only infrequently communicated with). But it has not proved to be what I had thought it would be. I have been blogging for awhile and most of the people who live at a distance from me don't seem to read this blog on a regular basis or even at all. I thought when I began the blog that it might be a way for them at least to know what I am doing and thinking. This has turned out to be unrealized. (Oddly enough, yes I would love it if my family read my blog regularly.)

Posting to this blog regularly seems to take energy away from other forms of interaction. And feeling the tensions of keeping up a blog and keeping up other communications and things that demand my attention has made bloging less attractive that it has been in the past. But the whole interment and electronic communications has lost its luster for me. Even e-mailing has seemed lacking of late.

Then there is also that the internet is a distraction. I log on to check my e-mail and catch a headline or two, read the articles, and then wonder if so and so, posted on this, or the article triggers a thought and I Google something. The internet is for me similar to a library: full of voices and interesting ideas that call out to me. In college and grad school I could never simply study in the library. Research for papers, collecting the books looking for articles etc. I could do and did so with great enthusiasm (still do actually). However, sitting down to read a book or study for an exam, I just couldn't do it in the Library. Invariably when I tried to do so, the books in the stacks would call to me and I find myself in the stacks collecting books that I found interesting to check out. The internet though is worse than a library its like a library that has multiple televisions going, concerts in the building and several speakers podium along with books and people hanging out wanting just to chat. Focus becomes very difficult, as you might guess from this. Add to all this that I am simply distracted by possible connections rather than concentrating on a few connections that I could make.

I was musing with my friend the AngloBaptist about my difficulty with keeping regular connections with people and my slight disillusionment with the networking and connectional technologies of the internet. I said making connections and communicating on the internet just seem to be lacking, and not quite the same as other forms of connection and communication. He turns to me and says "And we have a word for that..." For a moment I looked at him quizzically and he just looked at me with a knowing grin. As it dawned on me what he was getting at I said "Right, virtual... Virtual reality." Somehow the "virtual" just doesn't quite replace the "real". (The scare quotes are there in Deridian recognition that these distinctions cannot be held nor should they be held absolutely as if they don't bleed into each other.) That realization solidified something I had been pondering: starting to write letters on paper and sending them through the mail. I know either obvious or Luddite, depending on your perspective. But this is what I have decided to do, I am going to begin writing letters each week, one or two I think with my schedule. I can't stand phones really (that is a whole other post). I am not going to continue to throw myself into the virtual world of the internet as much. We'll see how that works out. Which means simply letting it be that I will post about once a week here, more if I feel the desire to do so, like this week. I need to feel less scattered and more connected. For right now the internet and its virtual reality tends to scatter me more than keep me connected.

So, I think I am going to be alright with the infrequency of posts here. and just let it be knowing that doing so probably will not increase readership. For those who do read this blog regularly it probably wont effect you much, I think many of you are subscribed to an RSS feed anyway. If not you can just visit less frequently.

I have already begun letter writing, began with writing to my parents. I already feel less scattered and more grounded for having done so.

So, if I don't respond to this or that on facebook, or an e-mail isn't replied to immediately or as has been the case here I post relatively infrequently, you can always find me away from virtual reality and I'll try to me more connected in the "real" world.