Loss of Intimacy

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Have we lost the window of opportunity for intimacy in our writing? Did we have it once, but then we stood at the edge of change, and in one direction lay power and glory, the other obscurity and intimacy, and we chose the glory?

Somehow when we stopped using Blogrolls and started using aggregators to keep up with each other’s writings, we started to lose our touch with each other. No matter how many readers we did or did not have, when we had to visit each other’s weblogs, it set both a tone and a context for the writing.

Now, we have a wonderful ability to consume mass quantities of data, and we are probably the most well informed citizens of this world, if not the known universe. If all this data were food or beer, the sound heard the loudest would be a hearty belch.

Perhaps it’s for the best, because there’s something distasteful about putting your most delicate thoughts into a writing, which then just gets shoved up next to a video of a basketball game riot, half a dozen dire political announcements, an adorable picture of a kitten (which will upstage everything else), and a bit of code. Perhaps we what we need is mood aggregators, similar to the old Mood Rings popular decades ago.

With the increased popularity and scrutiny of weblogs in the press thanks to the American political scene, putting one’s thoughts online is somewhat like standing in the middle of the T station in Boston and shouting out for all to hear what is or is not on your mind at the moment. Even if you’re in a group of friends, there’s something about the surroundings that keeps you chit chatting on common place things. We have lost the internet equivalent of candlelight dinners, Sunday morning brunch, and a late night chat over cocoa or beer.

Oh, we still have voice for anger, no worries there. In fact, we have even greater capacity for anger and rightousness and umbrage. But then, there’s something impersonal and dispassionate about anger. Anger is the ultimate camouflage for what’s really going on in our heads and our lives. People don’t look too closely at you when you’re angry.

And look at the marvels of technology available now. There’s room in syndication feeds for ads and images and podcast enclosures, and who are we to stand like frozen blocks of salt in the path of progress.

I wonder though, since I’m in the mood and it’s a cloudy day and suits the topic, have we achieved this massive information input, increased exposure, and technical supremacy by sacrificing a space for either exquisite beauty or exquisite pain?

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