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How to carry on worrying but still learn to ‘love’ the interweb

[[Tovarich]]/comrade: are you sitting comfortably? Good, then we’ll begin…

An overload of communications

An overload of communications (Photo credit: windsordi)

Astute followers of de Tal’s blogs [who may have achieved double figures as we speak] will have noticed an understandable asperity and skepticism regarding the overall social value of cyber-communication, such as social media and email. These misgivings continue to hold true, for example:

  • The risk of misunderstanding inherent in all forms of remote communication, which varies by degree and nature, contingent on mode.
  • The illusory nature of the medium, ie, with whom are we really communicating?
  • The unreality and potential for addictive[1] behaviour associated with sitting alone in a room and attempting to communicate with the world.
  • The potential for an alienated version of human community to be generated, in a situation where it simply requires someone who does not wish to pursue a challenging [or apparently boring] thread to cease any further engagement by signing out/blocking senders etc

However, there are also some benefits associated with cyber-communication, as sketched in below.

Cyber-communication, in particular blogs and online forums, allows for gainful deployment of intellectual skills, both for the benefit of the individual participant and the communities with which they engage[2], which in turn generates valuable social resources. In this sense, it is akin to voluntary work in the charitable sector, namely as a form of socially productive activity, of value to giver and recipient, which is not mediated by money.

In the realm of online dating that is directed towards the achievement of lasting relationships, passing through intermediate channels of communication prior to meeting up allows for timeous and proportionate sharing of information. Although the converse can also be true, ie, the potential to create ‘liars’ charters’, this process can also an additional layer of personal safety, particularly for women in their dealings with men.

In conclusion, the inevitable question asserts itself, namely, what about after the revolution? Will cyber-communication shrink to a hyper-efficient means of resource allocation, or will it continue to generate social value?

Given the high proportion of utter trash currently posted[3], we look forward to a time when many forums and sites will simply ‘wither away’[4] as authentic communication increases. For example, we anticipate a time when sexually-related content becomes less prevalent, and would welcome this, not on moral grounds, but as an indicator of more un-alienated, un-reified sensual and sexual activity [physical, ‘spiritual’, psychological, and emotional] taking place.

Join me in raising a cup of chamomile tea to that potential scenario, and may your day and night be as fun as possible…

Fulano de Tal


[1] Although it appears that addiction is a sick kitten looking for any home available, rather than a poorly puppy exercising a specific ‘homing instinct’.

[2] A win-win example of enlightened altruism.

[3] Spelling tests will be mandatory, in a Stalinist ‘command and control’ fashion.

[4] Heavens, a Marxist-Leninist allusion following a Stalinist one! A soothing cup of herbal tea is needed, particularly as ‘proper tea is theft’ [say it out loud to yourself].

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