Friday, September 7, 2007

Hi, My Name is Jenn, and I'm an Email Addict.

I am here to declare that I'm at odds with the internet. On one hand, I'm a HUGE fan; I love it! It's incredibly convenient and provides me with all kinds of great information and entertainment. On the other hand, it also seduces me into thinking that I'm forging relationships, when there's a chance that that's not what's happening at all.

I've been having this wrestling match of competing feelings each morning lately because, first thing after I get up, I walk right past my computer to let the dogs out. It sits there and doesn't even say anything like "you've got mail!", but it beckons to me nonetheless. Although this is not how I want to start my mornings, more often than not lately, I'm overcome by the urge to see if anyone has reached out overnight. This habit is bothering me.

Don't misunderstand me, I think email is a fabulous invention. But I'm disturbed that I equate the presence of a little white envelope at the bottom right of my screen with being in relationship with people. Is receiving email really connecting? It's not that I think what's exchanged this way is disingenuous. It's really cool to be able to know how my friend from my growing up years who lives 12 hours ahead of me on the other side of the world is doing without having to wait a week for an airmail letter. It's encouraging to get feedback from readers of this blog about cards or projects I've made. But, it's not a substitute for voice-to-voice or face-to-face communication, is it? It feels much like eating candy when I'm hungry--it tastes great for a minute and temporarily staves off the real pang; the trouble with eating candy when you're hungry is that you realize later that you didn't have a satiating experience after all and you're left with that empty pit in your stomach.

I am also at odds with the internet because on it there are a plethora of great blogs where people share what they're doing and what's happening in their lives. I regularly check 17 blogs, and while I've never met any of the people whose entries I read, I feel "connected" to them--sort of like I know them. There's opportunity for me to connect with them by commenting on what they post. But I don't really know them, and they don't really know me.

So I'm coming to the conclusion that what I'm trying to achieve through these two activities is really a delusion. I'm trying to find connectedness, a community, someone who cares. While those I've "met" via the crafting blogsphere seem like genuinely AWESOME individuals, at the end of the day I'm still here in Georgia with the life God has given me and they are where they are, living a whole other life apart from the presence they have in cyberland.

Bottom line? I don't know what to do. Maintaining connectedness with friends I've had for all my married life is as challenging now as it was when I lived in the same town with them, and making new friends is daunting because many just don't seem to have the time to invest. Which leads me back to the internet. Is "something" better than "nothing"? Is anyone else in touch with this, or am I out here on a limb by myself on this? I'd really like to hear your thoughts...even though they will come via the internet.


Amy said...

The Internet sure is a different beast, isn't it? I guess I'd respond by asking what a relationship is, to you?

There have been people I have spent time with face-to-face, think I am building relationships with and then the "relationship" turns out to be not much of one at all.

There have also been times I have met people over the Internet and then come home to find a beautiful card they made me in my mailbox. It may not be the same as meeting face-to-face, but I'd hate to characterize that as just "better than nothing" ;-).

Thanks for the card, Jenn. The shadow effect you created with the two tones was absolutely lovely!

Anonymous said...

I for one know exactly what you mean! In an effort to get in touch with you, I looked you up and came across your blog. I look a the beautuful card you sent when our adoption of I & I was finalized, everyday, as it hangs on my bulletin board over my desk. Once I found your blog I added it to my feeds and added "reconnecting" with Jenn as one of my "to do items". Life has been crazy, it was obviously important to search you out (kind of like a cyber space stalker, since I haven't said hi yet ;-) but haven't had time to send an appropriate hello. In the mean time I have enjoyed seeing what you have been up to and how you have been adjusting to GA since we last spoke.

On the flipside, we met a dear friend via her adoption blog and we even got to meet one time. I never get to see her face to face, but she sends emails and updates her blog so we can know what is going on with her sweet family. Sure it would be lovely if she was a "physical presence" in my life but I feel that my life is more full just knowing her via cyberland. The things she shares on her blog help me to grow as a person and often challenge me as a mother. So I do think that the internet/email help to bring together "friends" that would otherwise not even have the opportunity to know they exist. It's one of the many reasons I am glad I am not a pioneer, that and rendering my own soap from pig fat:-)!!!

Anyway, those are my two cents and I suppose a good way to let you know I am out here lingering, in cyberspace, too.

Amber in NC

L. said...

Hey girrrrrrl -

I totally understand the dilemma, and my inner closet catholic LOVES the confession!! Mostly because I too, am an addict! But what does that mean? Addicted to people? Is that so bad? I know more people through this wonderful hobby and all the computer related things it's brought into my life than I ever would have otherwise, and I'm so grateful for that. I don't consider any of those relationships less real - in some instances they are more real - because of some weird phenomenon that allows you to be very frank and honest with your keyboard in a way you might not be face to face.
I think that any possible means of connecting with another human being in a positive way is a light - and as you said to me one time "be a light there" - I think you are a light - in my cyber world anyway.

We are just people lucky enough to live in this magical time where we can build threads that reach thousands of miles into someone elses home - I say embrace it!! It embraces you! =)And a big hug & a thank you for asking the question - you always make me ponder things worth pondering!!