in Personal Reflections |

Friends are More than Contacts

The dictionary defines ‘friend’ as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”. A bit further down there is another definition: “a contact associated with a social networking website”.

One reason I recently deleted my Facebook profile was that having so many “friends” on Facebook was turning everybody into a contact.

I began to recognize that in the name of simplicity, social networks are severely degrading what it means to have ‘friends’ and that they’re slowly, friend-by-friend, psychologically training us to believe that ‘friend’, ‘contact’, and ‘acquaintance’ are all same. They’re not.

Friends are more than contacts.

(Note that I haven’t entirely abandoned Facebook: I’m still sharing my work through my Facebook Page.)

Write a Comment

Comment

51 Comments

  1. You opened my eyes. I was thinking to do it for long enough, truly needed this kick on the ass. I am following the same path now, though will share my work through my page. Thanks for leading the way!

    with gratitude,
    Sayantan

    • You’re most welcome, Sayantan. :) I was thinking about doing it for a long time too. I had lots of “friends” on my Facebook Profile, but I wasn’t using Facebook to really keep in touch with any of them (except for the occasional Facebook message, which can be replaced by email).

      For me, it was a simple recognition of how I used my time on Facebook: I could either spend lots of time just ‘browsing’ and looking for something interesting to read, or I could spend that time connecting face-to-face with the people around me and creating work that I want to share with others (which the Facebook page accomplishes).

      I had already started training myself not to “waste” time on Facebook, to not waste time scrolling through my profile timeline. However, on occasion I would “accidentally” find myself there, “lurking”, until I recognized how unproductive and wasteful it was being with my time.

      Social networks should allow us to “network” with others, to connect with them. Many of them, including Facebook, “enable” that, but they don’t actually create an environment that fosters connection. Instead, they create an environment that fosters lurking, casual browsing, and really just wasting time by having our attention stolen by an endless stream of stimulation.

      No thanks! I’d rather be proactive with how I use my time and focus on real connecting. Even email messages create more connection than Facebook. (I’m slowing pulling back to the point where I only communicate via email and through these comments here on my site, both places where I feel the deepest connection with those I’m communicating with.)

  2. I like the idea of only having a facebook page, but it limits the connection or sharing on their to one way (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), becomes more of a publishing medium than a social network.

    I recently deleted linkedin, like yourself with facebook I found it to be a hinderance rather than a help. At the moment I only really have close family and friends there, between twitter, instagram and emails the world is a small enough place :)

    (Just naming all those social networks got me a bit overwhelmed!)

    • Well, I guess it depends on how you rate your mediums of connection. Email certainly isn’t “one-way”. I guess for myself, I see the “socializing” that I do as being one-to-one anyway. I prefer direct (perhaps even private) communication over more general, open, and “social” communication.

      Even when I’m writing these comment replies here on my site, I’m not thinking about the fact that they’re public. To me, they’re a direct reply to the person I’m responding to and in my mind, when I’m responding, that’s how I treat them.

      I’m not at all interested in abandoning social networks. I think following that route is embracing a scarcity mindset (or just taking the easy way out). If the people interested in staying connected with me are present on multiple social networks, then I will be present on multiple social networks as well (especially since I’m also an author who is creating and sharing the work I create).

      With Facebook, it just got to the point where it was silly to have a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page. I rarely used the Profile and it was just a distraction more than anything else. The Facebook Page I actually enjoyed sharing through and connecting with people on because it was clearly on a level that felt more in tune with my presence there (to share the work I created, not to stay in touch with close friends; I can, and do, stay in touch with friends via email, phone, and in person). Again, I think it has a lot to do with how we individually socialize and connect.

      On the subject of LinkedIn, I just treat it as an online resume. I very rarely login into LinkedIn and I never receive emails or notifications from the site (I’ve disabled them all, as I have with all social networks).

  3. Raam, you just made me reminisce about the good ole days. When there was no social media and we would call each other instead of “posting”. Miss you :)

    • That made me smile, Sao. :) It’s so nice to hear from you!

      I think the “good ole days” have much wisdom left to share with us. I’ve learned to “rate” the quality and depth I achieve when connecting and I use that to prioritize where I spend my time. Right now, that priority list looks like (from best to worst). “face-to-face, email, site comments, Facebook/Twitter/Google+”.

      • I do enjoy reading up on all your travel and insight. I’m definitely jealous. I’m hoping the jealously will spark me to embark on my own little journey one day.

        • All in due time. I vaguely recall talking on the phone many, many years ago about our mutual interest in traveling to distant places. :) Life’s a journey, and a journey must be taken one step at a time.

  4. Perhaps its also a feature of the English language as there is no clear distinction between a friend and an acquaintance. Everyone is a friend. In Russian, you have a lot of acquantances (znakomye) but few friends (druzia).

    • I think it’s less a feature of the English language and more a difference in the culture. If we’re brought up hearing that people are either friends or they’re not (i.e., we never hear people referred to as “acquaintances”), then of course the meaning of the word “friend” is going to become diluted.

      A hundred years ago, it was far more common to refer to specific people as acquaintances. Now, everybody is a friend or a co-worker (a dry, dead word that holds no humanity).

      • I have a small family, few friends and a few colleagues. I love my family and friends and respect my colleagues.
        Everyone else I consider acquaintances or contacts. In time they may become friends.

        This reflects the quantity/quality decisions I make about my life.

  5. I have to agree with you. I think social media, for whatever other value and benefits it may provide, has degraded our concept of relationships.

    Recently I have been scaling my Facebook “friends” back to well below 100 – actual family and reasonably close friends. I find Facebook to be a useful, though imperfect, tool if I use it carefully. It is oh so easy though to get sucked into using it carelessly.

    For what it’s worth, I really don’t like Twitter, and don’t “get” Google+.

    • I don’t think they’ve degraded our concept of relationships (past tense, unchangeable) as much as they are degrading the concept (present tense, changeable).

      It’s easy to forget that the entire concept of an online social network did not exist ten years ago. I agree that it’s important to recognize both the good and the bad they’re doing and to use that awareness to help shape the future role they play in our lives.

      They are tools for communication, much like the pen and paper have been for thousands of years. Of course these new tools are far more powerful than pen and paper and as such they deserve a lot more care in their usage.

      We’re in the pre-birth stages of this communication revolution and it will take concentrated effort on our part to help guide this shift in the best direction.

  6. Even before the advent of social networks, from the time when I first started to learn English, I’ve always felt that U.S. English doesn’t have enough words to distinguish levels of social relationships and friendship that are “built into” other languages.

    When I moved to the U.S., it was tough for a while to re-frame my thinking on that in a language that didn’t allow me to express levels of subtle differences in the nature or closeness of the relationship (e.g., romantic/platonic, male/female, age difference, length of relationship, levels of respect).

    In my mind, these differences still existed, but everybody became “a friend of mine” when referring to them or talking about them, which can range in meaning from “someone I casually met yesterday” to “my best friend all my life”.

    For a while I thought of it as “the great linguistic equalizer” that simply erased formal distinctions of relationship levels from U.S. English and that the nature of the relationship is in its existence and evolution, not the label or name we give it. And that was fine for a while.

    Then came Facebook, which made the whole thing much worse. Now a FB “friend” or “friending someone on FB” can, and often does, refer to someone we’ve never even met face-to-face. At the same time, the term “acquaintance” is falling out of use. Don’t believe me? Ask the average teenager to spell it.

    I also believe that such linguistic erosion occurs on a much larger scale when using texting as a a primary communication mode. Why text “acquaintance” if you can just type “friend”? Why text “This is problematic” when you can just type “I hate this”. You can find examples like this in texting habits for almost every word that has 3 or more syllables. The implications for our future communication competence are unknown, but I’m thinking they’re not good.

    • I’m less inclined to blame the English language and more inclined to see it as a shift in cultural norms. A hundred years ago, you were far more likely to hear people referring to others as “acquaintances” than you are today. At the same time, you were also more likely to spend several hours drafting a letter that may never arrive as opposed to quickly typing a message on your laptop and pressing “Send”.

      The advances in technology are shifting both our culture and our way of interacting with an ever bigger world. Your point on texting is a good example of this. But at the same time, texting has made us more sensitive to subtle emotional differences that otherwise could not be communicated through a lifeless medium like text. Depending on who we’re communicating with, we subconsciously know the difference between “nah”, and “No”.

      When someone asks me a question, I don’t only use the memories inside my head, but I also analyze where on the Internet I’m most likely to find the answer, or which person may know the answer, regardless of their physical distance from me.

      So yes, I agree that we’re losing a lot in a world that makes communication easier, faster, and shorter, but I feel that we’re also gaining a lot of things and evolving in new ways to adapt the world we live in. I think it’s important to recognize both.

      I also feel that it’s important to recognize the momentum of these changes and work with them. Texting isn’t going away. Email, social media, and the Internet are not going to disappear overnight. The best way to move forward is to recognize their benefits and then adjust our relationship to the tools so that we don’t lose our humanity in the name of progress.

      Detaching from my Facebook Profile, only processing email once a day, leaving my phone always on vibrate, disabling notifications of any type whenever possible — all of these are ways I’ve been adjusting my relationship to the tools that I use. :)

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more Raam. Wonderfully written. I did the same… deleted my personal profile and left only my blog’s fan page.

    However, some 4 months later, I reactivated my profile. There are some people, not many, who are somewhere between being a friend and a contact… or in another way, they are “distant” friends, or friends from the past, who I would probably keep in touch by writing a seldom email and eventually maybe forget. But we do share nice memories and fb is an easy way of seeing how they are and write them an occasional line.

    And then there is a ton of things I don’t like about fb, including degradation of true friendship.

    I would still like to get rid of my profile, but I’m worried that I’ll lose contact with those precious people from the past. Which might just be the way it should be. So delete my profile, or not? I don’t know, I tried it… I missed some people. Now I’m back… not liking fb. Hard to decide. Guess the answer will come at some point.

    • I’m worried that I’ll lose contact with those precious people from the past. Which might just be the way it should be.

      That’s the way it should be. That’s the conclusion I kept arriving at whenever I thought about how I’m using my time. It may feel nice to see what distant friends are up to, but what value does that add to my life, or to the life of my distant friend, or to our barely-existent relationship? None.

      The only value being added is going to Facebook because those pointless actions (occasionally ‘Liking’ something, or just scrolling and clicking around) is increasing the metrics they can use for marketing and playing with numbers (yes, they record everything you do on there, down to where your mouse pointer sits on the screen).

      A far more productive use of my time would be growing the connections with the people who are already in my life, those people who I don’t need Facebook to ‘stay in touch with’.

      If I always lived in fear of ‘losing touch’ with people, I would be taking away from what I can give to the relationships around me. A scarcity mindset never improves quality, or abundance. :)

  8. Hey Raam, I have to disagree with you on this one. I see no difference in the depth of my close friendships between now and before I used social networks. If someone is important to me then I will ensure quality contact and time is spent with them and no amount of social networking will ever change that.

    Yes I do have more “contacts” but as I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to inspiring others to follow their dreams and face their fears I’ve found that my connection with people from my past and even those that I just consider acquaintances has seen me hear from people unexpectedly to tell me that my words or my sharing of other people’s content (like yours!) has inspired them to make positive changes in their lives. People I didn’t even know were reading my blog or looking at my Facebook profile.

    For this reason, I would never delete my Facebook profile or delete people I know longer have a lot of contact with from it. I believe that my purpose in this world is to shine as brightly as I can and for me social networks help me share love and wisdom much farther than the good ole days ever did.

    • Caroline, I think you may have misunderstood this essay. I’m not advocating that anyone abandon social networks (I didn’t abandon Facebook… I still have a presence there through my Facebook page). In fact, I’m all for social networks and for the incredible way they create connections between people who would otherwise never know each other. I think it’s fantastic.

      In my case, I had two places on Facebook where people could connect with me: the Profile and the Page. Most of my friends were already following me on the Page and my time on Facebook was already being spent interacting through the Page. Deactivating my Facebook Profile did not shut me off to anyone. (My friends can’t be ‘deleted’ anyway… what a silly concept.)

      So yes, I’m still very much on and accessible through Facebook (and Twitter, and Google+). The point of this essay was that in the age of instant connectivity, it’s dangerous to identify and give priority to all connections with the same level of attention. When I’m sitting with a friend face-to-face, or writing an email, or replying to a comment, I am doing those things. I am being present to where I am.

      I’m not saying that we need to put people in categories or buckets, ‘mark’ them as friends, acquaintances, contacts, and then treat them accordingly. Not at all. I think of everyone as a ‘friend’, but I also make conscious choices about where I invest my time. I may feel like a stranger I pass on the street is a ‘friend’, but if the friend I’m walking with is talking to me, I’m not going to ignore him to listen to the stranger yelling at me on the street. If a million people ask for my attention tomorrow and then at the same time my mom asks for my help, obviously I’m going to invest my time with my mother.

      On Facebook, as far as interaction goes, there isn’t even a distinction between my mother and my friends. Obviously I still know the distinction, but my point is that social networks currently encourage not being conscious about how we interact with others, so it’s something we need to watch out for.

      • Hey Raam thanks so much for your reply and clarification. I can see that the point you were making is that “social networks currently encourage not being conscious about how we interact with others, so it’s something we need to watch out for.” and it’s not that I missed or misunderstood this point, I simply disagree with it.

        Even you say “obviously” you know the distinction between your mother and your friends. Isn’t that the case for everyone? So if that is true does the fact that Facebook doesn’t make the distinction really mean that we will be encouraged to be less conscious and that we must watch out for it? Personally I don’t think so.

        Comments like: “social networks are severely degrading what it means to have ‘friends’ and that they’re slowly, friend-by-friend, psychologically training us to believe that ‘friend’, ‘contact’, and ‘acquaintance’ are all same.” to me implies that we are stupid enough to forget the difference just because Facebook doesn’t make the distinction. I disagree.

        Personally I believe that when we blame social networks for a possible lack of consciousness and a degradation of our ability to distinguish between friend, contact and acquaintance, we belittle our own intelligence.

        In terms of a profile and a fan page, I have decided to have both precisely because I choose to consciously connect differently (on Facebook) with my friends and family than I do with my “fans”.

        Thank you for this thought-provoking piece :)

        • Thank you for the reply, Caroline. :)

          I believe that unconsciously using anything is something that we need to watch out for, whether it’s unconsciously eating, unconsciously working, or unconsciously connecting and relating with others.

          All tools, by their very nature, encourage less conscious behavior. A tool is something that helps us by carrying out a specific task. If we’re no longer responsible for carrying out that task, we no longer feel a need to be conscious of it. (Automobiles are used for transportation, yet how they work is a mystery to most drivers.)

          I’m not blaming the tools and I’m not belittling our intelligence. I’m simply trying to raise awareness by sharing what I’ve learned.

          I also think there is nothing wrong with having both a Profile and a Page. Everyone has different ways of connecting, communicating, and relating. We all need to learn how these tools work best for us.

          • “I believe that unconsciously using anything is something that we need to watch out for” Raam you certainly have my agreement on this.

            What I love about your posts is that they make me want to actually sit down and have a proper discussion with you about them and that is something social networks can never replace! :)

  9. Although I understand why you removed yourself from facebook (and I think we had a conversation about it when you visited me in Melbourne), I have a different perspective on the term “Friends”

    I see everyone as a friend (or at least I strive to) – either it’s an old friend, someone on Facebook, or a person I haven’t met yet.

    Yes. Some are closer than others but that’s only in this slice of time and it also does not mean that a contact on Facebook can’t be as close in the future.

    keep having fun on your journey my friend ;)

    P.S I don’t know if you remember but when we exchanged emails a few months ago, when both of us were still only virtual to each other, I called you “my friend”. It did not matter to me that I only knew you for a short time, and only through facebook/twitter/blog – You were my friend.

    • Tal, I didn’t remove myself from Facebook… I only deactivated my Facebook Profile. I still maintain a presence there through my Facebook Page. There are many people who choose to connect with me through Facebook and all of those connections are still alive.

      Like you, I also see everyone as a friend, but as I mentioned in my reply to Caroline, the point of this essay isn’t about the semantics of the words (friend, acquaintance, contact, etc.); it’s about how we interact with people. I value my connections through the comments on this site higher than I value comments through Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Likewise, I value face-to-face communication higher than digital connections on my mobile, which is why when I’m having a face-to-face conversation I’m not being distracted by my phone. (I believe we spoke and agreed on this point as well.)

      When someone I’ve never met before connects with me, whether in person or through a comment or somewhere online, I speak and communicate with them as another human being. I feel no distinction between “virtual friends” and “in-person friends” because I feel a universal connection between all living beings and I aim to relate on that level. But social networks do not encourage such connections. They encourage unconscious connecting, and unconscious connecting degrades the not only the quality of all our relationships, but also the quality of our life.

      • Question: Why do you value your connections through the comments on this site higher than you value comments through Facebook, Twitter, or Google+?
        Is it because the “unconscious like” behavior?

        • That was bad wording on my part in my previous comment. It’s not that I value the ‘connections’ more here, it’s that I value my own investment here higher than I value my investment on social networks. There are a few reasons for that:

          1) When people come here and comment on something that I’ve created, something that I’ve obviously put thought and soul into sharing, it is a clear indication that they’re investing time in connecting with me on something that I created and shared. They’re giving me a slice of their time. (On social networks, such ‘connecting’ is often far more passive, with far less investment… clicking ‘Like’ or writing a one-sentence comment is not as much of an investment.)

          2) I consciously choose to invest my time here, in the comments on my site. I could choose to invest an equal amount of time and energy on the social networks, but I couldn’t possibly do both (and if I tried, the quality of both would certainly be degraded). I’ve made a conscious choice to prioritize where I invest my time and energy. Right now, ranked from most to least investment, that list looks like this: face-to-face -> email -> site comments -> social networks. And I created that prioritization based on where I felt that I personally received the most return for my investment. :)

          • Investing more time on your blog makes total sense. I do however have a different point of view regarding your comments “having so many friends on Facebook was turning everybody into a contact.” & “social networks are severely degrading what it means to have friends”. For me, a contact on Facebook is a friend (even if I know him for a short span of time) and I’d treat him like family if I met him for the first time face to face. I believe that if more people would embrace this perspective we would have more harmonious feelings and as a result better relationships. Saying that, I understand why one want to grade the level of attention and care he or she gives to different people. In any case, sending love Habibi! ;) keep living your dreams

  10. Great article Raam. It’s interesting that you write this. I suppose I enjoy calling it “connection” because I’m not sure what will happen but I must take a shot at human interaction.

    Some people won’t click at all. Others will be fleeting. A few stay for quite a while.

    The point is Dunbar’s number: 150-200 [250 for some] close, intimate friends is the absolute limit our minds can take.

    Even if you choose to have a few or 100 or 10 or whatever, I wonder if there is a way one can combine simplicity of close, intimate friends while keeping opportunity of making new ones.

    • Thank you, Matt. I think combining the simplicity of close, intimate relationships while remaining open to the opportunity of developing new connections is exactly what I aim to do. And I think that the Internet is an integral piece to that puzzle. The Internet allows us to connect and remain open, while also giving us the power to decide when such connecting happens.

      If I’m having a dinner conversation with a friend that I just met in person for the first time, I can consciously choose to turn off the rest of the world and focus on developing the connection that is now physically present to me.

      Meanwhile, when I’m alone, as I am right now, I can share and connect with lots of different people all over the world within the span of a few short minutes (certainly not at the depth I would achieve face-to-face, but the point is any one of these connections could eventually blossom into a face-to-face meeting).

  11. Can’t agree more with the article that “Friends are more than Contacts”.

    However, Facebook is just a tool that we use to connect with people. If our concept of ‘Friends’ is not strong, any other tools could blur this understanding as well (the previous accused were mobile phones).

    So instead of deleting Facebook account/profile, why not take a step back and re-think what does ‘Friends’ means. This will solidify our understanding.

    The key is not to be attached to the tool. But to use the tool where it can serve its functions. Facebook is a great tool to connect ‘Contacts’ together more than just ‘Friends’. We develop friendships with people at different time of our life while the other group of people, we just know them briefly. However, ‘Contacts’ in the present does not mean that we will not evolve into ‘Friends’ in the future so I don’t see why harp on having too many ‘Contacts’?

    Facebook allows sharing of our ideas and inspiring thoughts to the circle of people (Friends & Contacts or Fans) we built. Regardless if our sharing is being appreciate or not (likes or no like), isn’t it wonderful to be able to share?

    The term ‘Friends’ in Facebook is really just a word of several characters. You could see it as ‘Friends’ literally and qualifies only real friends should be included in this list or you could see it as just a circle of people that you know who would be able to enjoy what you have to share with them through this tool.

    I think we have a choice on how we use a tool for its function without being emotionally attached to it. More importantly, to know clearly within us what Friends are.

    • Yes, agreed, Facebook is just a tool. I didn’t remove myself from Facebook. I’m still there. I had two places where I connected on Facebook (the Profile and the Page); I just simplified my presence there. The point behind this article wasn’t that I deactivated my Facebook Profile, but that as part of the process of deactivating my Profile and switching to just the Facebook Page, I realized how much social networks are encouraging unconscious connections, thereby pulling us away from the present and neglecting the present moment.

      I absolutely agree with you that the key is to not be attached to the tools. However, if a surgeon brought a chainsaw into the operating room, I’m sure people would be asking if he realizes he’s in an operating room and not his backyard. Being unattached to the tools is important, but equally important is recognizing when and how we should use the tool at hand.

      I’m not “harping” on having too many contacts: I’m simply saying that we should be conscious of how and where we’re spending our time and energy. Browsing Facebook is not networking or socializing. It’s browsing a website that happens to be connected to lots of friends, acquaintances, and contacts. It’s easy to forget that because the stuff we see while browsing makes us feel good. But that feeling isn’t shared. Those people that make us feel good because we saw something they posted don’t feel good in return (many will never know our eyes laid sight on something they posted).

      As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for connecting and sharing. I’m all for using all the tools available to us. That’s why I have absolutely no desire to disconnect from Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. They are all tools for connection and I will continue to use them as long as they allow me to connect to those interested in hearing what I have to say. But I won’t allow those tools to distract me from important work, whether that be creating, writing a comment here on this site, or sharing a conversation with a friend face-to-face. :)

      • Appreciate your response, Raam.

        I was really just thinking aloud on the views about how Facebook have influenced people and how many have taken the unexamined way of escaping from the influences.

        So glad that you are still sharing else we wouldn’t have this conversation. I’m one of your likes in your Facebook ground for quite a while. In fact, I came over here from there.

        It’s about mindfulness. Being mindful in every thing we do, speak, listen, think, etc. Especially so when we handle a piece of tool – for a knife can kill or slice oranges.

        Keep sharing :)

    • Scottso, if you don’t consider to close your personal FB account, you can easily unsubscribe from people you don’t want to see updates from . You can also create lists and check them once a week. A suggestion.

  12. As cool as Facebook is in concept, and as great as even that type of connecting is for many people, I long for a simpler way of life, more communal. Once we’ve lived with network powered social stuff for a while, perhaps we’ll learn how to use is better, and which things are better accomplished in the real world.

    That there’s a lot of noise online especially the hubs like facebook, doesn’t mean there isn’t a signal buried somewhere. But the signal would always trace back to something real, somewhere, a person with a vision, people with a goal that connects with your aspirations for yourself and your world.

    I hope the best thing we’re learning from the internet is how to cope with noise, what is really important, and how to find it the noise. Without the noise perhaps we would have never have learned to be truly discerning.

    For all the connection, sometimes I have felt so lonely, knowing that with all the possibility, nothing more than what has ever happened between me and others is happening.

    Then, as publishers, the scarcity gremlin has us interacting for that ulterior motive, that chandelier mirage.

    So I can just disable by profile and my page will still be there?

    • I hear what you’re saying, Ali. Social networks of this scale, and connecting power of this magnitude, are so new to our species. It will take some time before we learn the best way to use them. In the meantime, I think the best thing we can do is continue to experiment consciously.

      I also feel that your points about the signal within the noise and the way noise is actually helping us improve our power of discernment is also very true. We are creatures of harmony, that’s why music is so appealing to us. Given noise, we will always gravitate towards something that is more harmonious and probably the biggest advantage of all the noise generated by the Internet is that it forces us to think and consider things we wouldn’t otherwise think about or consider. (“How many of these posts on Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Blogs are adding value to my life?”)

      Any time I start feeling a sense of loneliness from all the noise, I switch back to thinking about the physical world, about how all the people on the Internet, all the noise and knowledge and information being shared and passed around, is actually being created, shared, and passed around by real human beings (well, most of it anyway). I think about the billions of people on Earth who are going about the daily motions of life, dealing with all the same basic necessities that I deal with (eating, sleeping, defecating, learning, working, moving, etc.).

      Then I come full circle and realize that as a creative, I have the power to share things with all those people, people that I have never met and may never meet, and that my message, or what I share, may very well change their life for the better. (The next comment I’m going to reply to was left by Anonymous, asking for help.)

      • Thanks for your reply. You’ve got a whole book attached to this post now.

        Yes I think the complexity is teaching us a lot about simplicity – the artifical aspects are teaching us alot about what’s real. All the ‘friends’ are teaching us a lot about the importance of real friendship, what that is and what it means. It’s something that has never really changed. And all of this is teaching us how to use the net and live in the digital age: for us, how to stay empowered and creative, and sane.

      • Ramm, I absolutely love this comment.

        Especially this part: “Any time I start feeling a sense of loneliness from all the noise, I switch back to thinking about the physical world, about how all the people…. Then I come full circle and realize that as a creative, I have the power to share things with all those people, people that I have never met and may never meet, and that my message, or what I share, may very well change their life for the better”

        Brilliant!

  13. While Facebook can be a help “staying in the loop” on various different events I’d like to personally attend, I agree it’s just gotten out of control over all.

    Our entire manner of speech as a society is changing, and in fact, degrading overall. I cringe when Cnn now has article titles with LOL in them, or other textspeak.

    The good ole days, sure have many things I long for, true human connection being one of them.

    Imagine, when people needed to wait for a letter, or message carried by Raven….

    • I hear you loud and clear, Jeff, but while I agree with you, I also look for the positives, and the inevitables.

      On one hand technology is changing what it means to communicate and it’s removing a lot of the face-to-face interaction that once existed, but it’s also allowing us to communicate more frequently, with more people. It’s allowing us to feel comfortable sharing our deeper thoughts with strangers and it’s giving us the tools to connect with people who might need something we can give, regardless of where they are on the planet.

      I feel those positives far outweigh the negative. The reality is that technology is here to stay and the best thing we can all do is find the best way to use the tools available to us. I’m personally experimenting with how I use technology to communicate, preferring now to only go into depth and spend lots of time here in these comments and through email. Otherwise, the bulk of my communication happens face-to-face. I purposely avoid starting long conversations on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ because I feel that spreads my time too thin, which takes away from the rest of my communication.

      In the age of instant digital communication, the new Raven needs to become our mind. We need to relearn thoughtful communication instead of just blurting out whatever comes to mind.

  14. “In the age of instant digital communication, the new Raven needs to become our mind. We need to relearn thoughtful communication instead of just blurting out whatever comes to mind.”

    Ramm – I think that in itself is a great summary! :)