Social Web

It used to be conventional wisdom that people who spend a lot of time online would have no social lives, would turn into pallid, inert root vegetables who are annihilated by sunlight and abhor garli… oh, wait a minute, that’s vampires. But you remember — “Will little Rigoberto ever have a rich human relationship if he likes chatting online?” Back then, when Blogaria was less a megalopolis and more a big city with smallish, friendly neighbourhoods, we actually used to get together relatively often (given the distances and expenses involved) and revel in one another’s company. We would always take pictures, then, partly to remember each other by, partly to share with colleaguse who couldn’t make it, and partly (I suspect) as a visible rebuttal to the convulsive panic that we were all asocial agoraphobic misanthropes.
 
Yesterday, Maggi came out to Glasgow and we had a delightful lunch together. I don’t remember when we first crossed paths online; it was probably way back when the search terms “Anglican” and “emergent” would have been a lot closer to a Googlewhack (and remember Googlewhacks?) than it is now. But we’ve traded comments and tweets and links on and off over the years, and recently she kindly sent me a copy of her recent book The Writing on the Wall, an introductory overview of the plot of the Bible and its entanglement in popular and high culture (I’ve suggested that we consider it as reading for the coming year’s Level One course in biblical studies), and she has said kind things about my Faithful Interpretation. So that’s all good.
 
We enjoyed vegetarian lunch entrees from Brel (she hadn’t seen Ashton Lane before), talked over hermeneutics, Coleridge, the joys and pains of writing (she’s working on what should be a wonderful manuscript about “pilgrimage”), ecclesiastical partisanship, “emergence,” early church history, jobs, and any number of other topics. And — and you will remember that this is how I started the post — there was no urgent need to have a picture. I think we’ve all put paid to the dread that digital = unreal and antisocial, thank heaven.
 

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Why does one need to be asocial and agoraphobic to be a misanthrope? I love going out to be grumpy to all my wife’s former friends! I just wish she wouldn’t change the locks quite so often…

  2. the opposite has actually happened, hasn’t it. none of the things now important in my life would even exist if it weren’t for the online social network. I would never have gone to the places I found there if i hadn’t…erm, found them there! and used social networking to maintain the contacts that don’t ever even get to form without the kind of constant interaction offered by things like FB. I flew across the country for the first time to meet with people i’d met online back in 2006, and I’ve been doing similar things regularly ever since–to the point where it’s what keeps me sane! This is not limiting social lives; this is, in 2010, making them possible!

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