Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Cyber Sea

As you can see, I'm back posting images on Illustration Friday, which I did regularly up until about two years ago, when my browser could no longer see it. Well, after a long hiatus I'm back again, but I don't recognize any of the original people on there, they've moved on. To where, I don't know...like returning to an old neighborhood where you once lived, only strangers live there now. I've experienced the same thing on Imdb, where I once was a regular on their message boards...indeed, I posted on a daily basis, many times a day on some occaisions. This was about ten years ago, and it was my first experience doing such a thing.
At first I came to recognize the regular posters, each with their own personality which I assumed was a 'real' person, not a contrived persona or anything like that, I was naive at the time...So, in all those posts about movies and tv shows, a certain number of posters would gravitate to one another, and become, well, friends online!...I became buddies with a few of them, we would chat about movies and sometimes delved into our personal lives, almost like 'pen pals' we had in school...But then something happened, an influx of new users and a group that had been kicked off an old board brought their 'wars' there. And an infestation of teenagers who plagued the board with their inane and juvenile posts...'trolls'...I soon lost sight of the old regulars but later learned that they retreated to a certain movie board on imdb, "The Way We Were" of all places...others who were not invited there complained bitterly, "why didn't you tell me?? how could you??"..or...
"okay, here's your knife back, the one you stabbed me with!"
It became clear, sheesh this like high school! and these people have never even met each other, or knew each other growing up, or shared each others pain or joy that they otherwise would in a real or at least tangible friendship...No, this was a new territory, a new universe of VIRTUAL friendships, just as loving and supportive, or just as dysfunctional...but friendships nevertheless!
As friendships can come and go, so do these...like the Illustration Friday crowd who moved on, so did the Imdb bunch, a small group of them formed a small site on which I was invited, like building a hopeful bridge over the cyber sea, but even now that one is dwindling, like a bridge that is abandoned or swept away...I guess people just want to move on, like in real life. America is one of the most mobile and migratory people in the world. Everyone moved out here to California in the 50's and 60's and I grew up listening to them brag about how great it was back where they came from...I would sigh like an old man....
And, like a migratory shift, people move on from virtual friendships to new places and then we wonder where they went, what became of them?...but we do make friends, and keep them! Like facebook, we connect with old friends, the 'tangible' ones. But the virtual friends, they're basically pen pals...I miss the ones I don't see anymore, even though I never saw them face to face, or shook their hands...or even arranging to meet someday, somewhere...when it comes to all of them, the friends I never met, it's like throwing a message in a bottle into the Cyber Sea.

1 comment:

  1. Another thoughtful post dan! I totally know what you mean about how it feels almost as if you've graduated from school and then returned and all the kids have all moved on with you! I will go to a restaurant a lot... and then one day.. pooof! I don't. And a year later or more.. I think. "I haven't been to that restaurant in a long time!" no reason .. just moved on.... I guess it's like that....