The world is an amazing place and no where is this more evident than on social networking sites. In just a few days through Facebook, I’ve hooked up with at least five friends from high school in New Zealand, three of whom I even went to primary school with from 1979 to 1985. But even more spectacular is the fact that my family has found some lost cousins. These are first cousins – children of my mother’s brother who died when we were all still young – not the kind of people you’d expect to lose contact with. But we did. At last my family has been reunited. I think of us as the Children of Molly – my maternal grandmother. Molly loved us all and without her the web that kept us together unknit itself. Through the genius of the world wide web it is being respun.
My first instinct is always to resist new technology. I didn’t hurry to get an email address when it first became widely available. I resisted mobile phones, then SMSing, personal blogs, and most recently Facebook, believing that it herald the end 0f face-to-face communication. I worried that we were breeding recluses and building a world that supported antisocialism. I worried that it would eventually lead to a language breakdown as people forgot how to use whole grammatically correct sentences, relying instead on acronyms and short hand. Mostly I think this was paranoia. Now I think cyber networking has opened a portal through which we can all benefit. It’s up to the individual to stay in touch with the “real” world in combination with the virtual one. One can compliment the other.
If I’m honest I will admit that the information superhighway has helped me more as a writer than any other medium. I still have some reservations about all this networking, but as a writer we should not shy away from possibilities. I’ve said before, Writers are explorers – as Walt said:
Sail Forth- Steer for the deep waters only. Reckless O soul, exploring. I with thee and thou with me.
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared go. And we will risk the ship, ourselves, and all
– Walt Whitman