Sunday, February 02, 2014

Electronic and in-person revisited

We all know how abstract online communications can be: no gestures, inflection, wink in the eye, no touch or sight or smell. Being there in person is completely different, and it isn't hard to see why.

But there's another aspect of the abstract communication channels that only just occurred to me. Phone, email, text, Facebook, blogs only touch me if I choose. I don't have to answer the phone or log in. But in person communications are not under my control.

If the neighbors are having a quarrel when the weather is warm, I hear it. If one of the kids needs a bucket quickly, I learn about it whether or not I'd rather read the paper. I am not entirely master of all I survey when other people are nearby. Online I am. Milton's Satan would rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. (Insert your own comparisons between Hell and Facebook.) Now and then I feel like that too.

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