Community Is Dead Long Live The Lone
Community is dead. No longer does the front porch society exist. Whether it be urban sprawl, the Me generation or a lack of empathy towards others, we have moved inside and bolted the door behind us. Do you know your neighbors? Are you interested in meeting them? Me neither. Where did everybody go? I refuse to believe that our hardwired desire for companionship, this desire to be part of something, this urge to belong to something greater than ourselves has up and left, and we are all Islands in the sea of the human experience. I think I know where everybody is. Here. Online. Cyberspace.
Community is alive in well here in cyberspace. Search the web and you will find countless online communities catering to virtually every whim and fancy you could possibly imagine. Look no further then our beloved hub pages and you will see that the front porch has been replaced by the computer screen. Facebook, twitter and any number of other social networking sites speak volumes to this fact of modern life. How many of you have had or are having relationships with “people” you have never met face to face? Have you ever stopped to think about the strength of these relationships in terms of how they make you feel? The connectedness they inspire in your minds? Scroll through the endless topics not only here on hupbages but any other online community and you will be struck by the intensity, the drama and the very REALNESS of the dialogues taking place. It makes you wonder whether or not “real” life has been eclipsed by cyber life. Could it be that the anonymity inherent to online friendships ,relationships, business arrangements or whatever the case may be, has spurred us into developing stronger, more intense experiences than similar ones played out in “real” life? If so what does this say about ourselves as members of the human race? Does this place a burden upon us of the online world with a set of ethical and moral responsibilities that may not exist outside the computer screen? Do we have carte blanche to lie, cheat and steal simply because we can rationalize it away by saying that it is not real? It is only online so it doesn’t matter? Can we be duplicitous and underhanded behind the cloak of our anonymity to achieve whatever financial or sociopathic goals we may have? Maybe the more important question is will we? I do not pretend to know the answers. I have chosen only to bring up the questions t hopefully encourage an open, educational and productive dialogue as a result.
The one thing that I am absolutely certain of is this; behind every screen name, behind every keystroke, behind every comment , behind everything we see or hear online sits a living, breathing human being. This thing we call “online” is in many ways the sum total of our existence; our dreams, our hopes, our successes, our failures, our virtues, our strengths and our weaknesses. So you tell me; is it real?