I prefer talking to people face to face, not through a keyboard. That’s me. Human language is so much more than written words and punctuation, caps and itals. It is sight, but it’s also sound, it’s taste, it’s touch, and yes, it’s smell. They all speak to us and tell us exactly what is being said. It’s all part of communication.
A real frown has a thousand more nuances than an upside down smiley emoticon, just as a real smile can convey anything from mild amusement to absolute ecstatic glee — something that cannot possibly be captured in a single, smiley yellow face. But for now, with the Internet and society the way it is, talking through the keyboard is what I’ve got. (Insert partially smiling and partially regretful emoticon here. Make sure it also has the “that’s okay” look, too. I can do that, right?)
I do think the Internet is a wonderful thing. Please don’t misunderstand. Without it, I would be totally unable to keep up with so many friends and family members. But sometimes I get frustrated with this typing thing when what I’d really like to do is visit a guy in California who has become a good friend, or a go see someone in Maine who is really quite special, or maybe visit Kentucky or even Canada, or anywhere my friends happen to be. But I can’t. Sorry. I feel bad about that.
And it is the strangest feeling to post something on Twitter or Facebook, knowing that someone somewhere is reading it, someone somewhere is reacting to it, and as I watch it scroll away without response when other posts appear from other places and push it into digital oblivion, I know that someone somewhere has chosen to just let it go. Not everybody will see it. That is true. And some are too busy. But someone has seen it. Someone I am connected to in some way, maybe by Facebook friending, Twitter following, whatever. But in any case, I just don’t know and that leaves me with an unsettling question, “Is anybody there?”
People don’t usually do that in person, but on the Internet, it’s the way of life. Get used to it, me. I guess that’s what I’m having trouble with — getting used to it. Maybe I’m just old, but I don’t feel old. Maybe I’m just backward-thinking, but I don’t feel backward-thinking. Maybe I’m just expecting too much. That’s it. I’m expecting the same treatment I get in person. Silly me. It’s a brave new world.
Enough rambling — to the point now. One thing I really appreciate about Facebook in particular is the “like” feature. When I am scrolling through posts and I see a friend who has said something, posted a photo, mentioned something important enough to them to share with me, I click that little “like” thingie just to let them know I read it, appreciated it, and appreciate them for who they are and what they represent to me. I don’t comment on everything and I don’t follow every link to every blog. I really don’t have the time or energy for it all. Sorry. Maybe when I retire I will, but not now. But I at least want them to know I am there, that I am their friend, and that I care enough to smile back at them from the other side of cyberspace.
I am definitely not saying that I am wonderful. Far from it. If I were, I would be commenting on everything and following every link and, wow, I would be truly awesome, wouldn’t I? I just want them to know, I want you to know, I’m here for you so you don’t have to ask, “Is anybody there?”