Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Web is a Weird Weird Place.

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:50 PM Permalink

I just found out that one of my favorite bloggers has died.
The news that good friend, fellow author and Fortean writer and researcher Mac Tonnies has passed away suddenly at the age of only 34, is tragic, mind-numbing and overwhelmingly saddening.
I'd mentioned him on this blog and I commented on his, so we exchanged a few words, not many, but I loved reading his blog and checked it for updates often. I had noticed he hadn't updated for a while and I was beginning to wonder, then I saw the notice.

Here's why the web is a weird weird place: I didn't know him, never met him, we exchanged a few comments on our blogs, and that's it. Yet, I'm troubled by his early demise. Why? Like I said, I didn't know the guy. But I FELT like I did.

And that's what's weird. You read someone's blog, and they write about personal stuff, or personal thoughts, and you feel like you know them. But of course, you don't. But we FEEL like we do. It's very confusing. What does it mean to know someone now? I've never met my blogmates, The Sailor or Bill, but I feel like I know them well. What has the web done to interpersonal relationships? Has it minimized them? Maximized them? Altered them for the better or worse?

Has our reality become such a mish-mosh that the lines of true interpersonal relationships has become confounded with digital or media-driven ones? What does that mean for our humanity that we can so easily conjure emotions in completely manufactured situations?

Hopefully it's not creating a society where real human connections will be displaced by digital ones. Digital ones are clean and simple. Real human connections are messy, exciting, and occasionally pitifully annoying and dealing with them can be a huge pain in the ass. A digital relationship, when it becomes a bother, is easy to avoid; just don't read that email or respond to that blogpost or twitter. Hopefully, digital relationships will only add to the human experience and not detract from it. But, my jury is still out on all 'dat.

Well, whatever. Thoughts on humanity don't really get you anywhere fast.

Mac Tonnies, may ye' rest in peace.

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At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "inner-tubes" of the Web has created a different paradigm and a new(er) synthesis to how we practice the consideration of "knowing" people.

Because of that most fundamental feature of the Web -- that being anonymity -- many bloggers (and though I don't have a blog, I still consider myself a "second-tier" blogger in a "family-relations kind of way ... you know, first cousins, second cousins etc.) will (and irregularly at least, do) reveal information about themselves that they would never dream of disclosing within more "in-your-face" relationships.

In this way, a blogging relationship can be just as "interpersonal" and intimate as the more sweaty, glandular version.

Also, there's absolutely no chance at all of catching an STD ... .


At 11:07 AM, Blogger The Vidiot said...

Well said.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

I am sorry you suffered the loss of a friend and, yes, I do believe it is not just possible to achieve long lasting, and even loving relationships brought about by things like the internet,

Despite the fact we have never met in our corporeal, I feel an especially tight and wonderful friendship bound with you, Sailor, Mr. Vidiot and all our exceptional readers like DanD.

May your friend rest in peace, for his earthly

At 5:52 PM, Blogger The Sailor said...

I think meaningful friendships are possible online. I started noticing it when I belonged to BBSs in LA (some had 'sister' BBSs in SF and Amsterdam!)

A community was established that had nothing to do with geography or physical appearance, but just things we had in common.

That said, you only see a facet of a person, but I think that is true of most friendships.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should not question the validity of the feelings conjured up by the loss of a dear friend -- a friend only known through the words on a blog. The same has happened throughout time between artists, poets, authors, scientists, philosophers and plain simple folks. The difference being that it happened via pen on paper and delivered by courier and not through cyberspace. The published letters of those correspondents bring insights and enlightenment to the reader to this day. The writing of a letter clarifies thoughts to both the writer and the sender; it brings them closer in spirit and creates a particular intimacy. The same can be said of blogging. You can be sure that the "letter writers" grieved for and sorely missed their "soul-sharers" when they were no longer there. Be comfortable with your grief. It's as real as it can be.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger The Sailor said...

Well said Anon!


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