I have never met people in bars or laundromats or hiking clubs. All my relationships since college have heavily involved online communication. You know, the first batch of communication is purely professional, and then at some point it moves to the personal… and the line is irrevocably crossed. Of course, all of my online relationships continued on fairly quickly to become in-person relationships, some of which resulted in marriage, cohabitation and kids. Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t self-select for people who were more comfortable with online communication than in-person interaction. Or, it could be me who is more comfortable with online communication, which would explain a lot.
Until fairly recently, my online communication tool of choice was email, because I’m from that generation, and because it is private. More recently it’s been texting. Social media has upped the complexities of online engagement for me. It’s seductive and addictive: richly multi-media and immediate, global and yet anonymous. I think there are some very real pitfalls with social media, however, that are not as pronounced with other forms of online communication. Unlike email or texting, social media allows stalking and lurking – and that seems inherently fraught with the dangers of a sustained, one-sided infatuation. It’s less accountable, and thus more prone to the (less than attractive) pitfalls of Jungian projection. (I hope you didn’t click on that link and get lost. This really isn’t a psychology post. Well, it is, but only sort of.) On to the real meat of the issue.