Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wow. Hi, Meghan! Of course I remember you. Drop me a line sometime, acau REMOVE sal @ gmail - just take out the spaces and the capital letters and add a dot com at the end. Sorry for making it complicated, I am trying to cut down on spam emails.

It has been a week for names and faces from the past. Finally got that writing project started, and I have to say I'm really glad I don't intend it for publishing. I'm not particularly impressed with the first draft of the intro, but I know how it goes - I'm not going back to edit until I'm done. Thanks to everyone who provided me with reassuring/disturbing news that some of you still read this thing. At first I kind of wondered why, after all it's pretty random and just a collection of errata about whatever is going on at the time, but then I remembered that I read a lot of blogs by people I know, and a great many of them are about the same. Katherine and Dan being notable exceptions - they occasionally insert snippets of literature into the internet, which I'm pretty sure is against some internet code of conduct somewhere. No pop culture references, obscure in-jokes, or pedantic soapboxing? Someone call the internet police. :)

The gradual erosion of what would once have been pretty stalker-y behavior into simply a sort of anonymous expression of social interest is pretty weird. In the 90's, perusing someone's publicly available information on the internet definitely felt voyeuristic, even if they *did* post it publicly. I remember Natalie Engel's Chest of etc....the remnants are linked over to the right, but the actual journal is gone. She was one of the first three people to post a journal online, even if it was (barely) covered with a veil of fiction. She eventually took the journal part down, felt a little too creeped out by it I think. Way before the internet was anything like it is now, though, I felt for the first time a genuine human connection to this stranger on the east coast. By the end of the journal, I really *cared* about this poor, somewhat screwed up girl on the east coast was experiencing in her day to day life. It was totally new, she was no celebrity - not even aware of the extent of her fame or exposure - she was a real person. Just....real. I remember that it blew my mind at the time, and after that I was determined to start my own web journal for years until the technology caught up.

These days, it's not even strange to go to someone you just met's Myspace page and read about what's going on in their life to a certain level of disclosure. Most people are smart enough to keep a healthy portion of their lives private, but still the superficial level of awareness we can achieve about our friends and acquaintences' day to day lives is something new, especially in anonymity. Ask a person's friends and coworkers what's going on with them with any sort of frequency and they eventually hear that someone is asking about them all the time. It's easy to forget that keeping up with someone's blog or Myspace or Facewhateveryoukidsaredoingnow is not the same as contact, and that we have to reach out to form a true connection. Even so, it's a brave new world that wasn't there when I was in school, except for a few like Danielle Tropea/Natalie Engel who braved the trail for everyone. Now you can find out if that girl you think is cute is married or has a boyfriend before you embarrass yourself, which is great because I prefer to embarrass myself in a more spectacular fashion later. Viva la revolution!


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