Everyday Ambassador knows that in our global Internet society it is easy to forget that meaningful relationships and hard lessons must come from more than simple convenient clicks and instant messaging. Interpersonal connections cannot grow when communication is limited to 140 characters. But the internet doesn’t have to be an individual pursuit. Social media connects us for a reason. Paul Miller, senior editor from The Verge, just reemerged from a year long internet fast. He explains that the internet is where people are, and if done right, is something we can do with each other.
There is so much writing, even blog posts and tweets, about how the internet makes us “lonely, or stupid, or lonely and stupid,” that Paul wanted to figure out what exactly the internet was doing to him. And what is more, he wanted to fight back. Once offline he realized “the boredom and lack of stimulation drives me to do things I really care about, like writing and spending time with others.” But, should such lack of connection be motivation for doing what you love?
We agree, the internet is “reprogramming our relationships, our emotions, and our sensitivity.” However, we cannot deny in this 21st century that our virtual lives are inexplicably intertwined with reality. It is important to recognize how our relationships are being reprogrammed and use these changes in a positive way.
When asked “What do you want to do when you get back on the internet?” Paul explained his want to do things for other people – to try to succeed online where he’d failed offline. EA.org thinks he can do that. Ultimately, it was not the internet holding him back from finding himself or being the best person he could be, it was the way he was utilizing the tools of the internet. Paul is right, the internet IS where the people are. It lets us connect with people thousands of miles away, but we must use these tools to help us form relationships as if they were also standing right next to us.
So tell us what you think! Does Paul’s journey resonate with you? Do you have a story about how the internet has helped you build meaningful relationships? We cherish your feedback and look forward to hearing your opinions. Comments of any length are encouraged below or on Facebook, or try your hand at 140-character tidbits on Twitter. (Don’t forget to mention us @everydayAMB and include the hashtag #everydayAMB)