Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bringing the World Closer

I don't "rank" my friends. I do not have a best, a second best, third best, etc. friend nor do I have any "BFFs" (and, in the words of my dearly departed little brother, "forever is a long-ass time"). Even if I did, I would avoid such labels. Every relationship - friendship or otherwise - is unique. Each has its own combination of characteristics that makes it the only one like it in the history of forever (and, again, that's a long-ass time).

However, there are certain characteristics that can be used to make broad categories. But even the word "friend" is not so concrete. Some people view every single one of their Fakebook friends as an actual friend. I am not here to argue that they are or are not (I don't care, have 5,000 friends, it's your life), but I can say with certainty that all of my 2,000+ Fakebook "friends" are not real friends. In fact, most are not (if you have to ask, you already know the answer).

Further, among them, there are those who are friends, but friends who, if I had some particular urgency, I could count on them to be conveniently unavailable. There are others who I know will drop everything if I needed them. That does not make one group "better" friends than the other, but there is a qualifiable difference in those relationships. In fairness, I am, to others, both. I will drop everything for some and would not for others. Does reciprocity play a role? I'd be lying if I said it didn't, but it's not everything. I'd be there for some who I know would not be for me; I don't know why.

It seems that certain aspects of human interaction, and human connection, and human relations, and relationships, have been diluted with the advent of social media. We are - in what amounts to a nanosecond compared to the whole of human history - all of a sudden provided with the tools to connect with everyone, everywhere, all the time. Not every connection is equal, not all are special, not all need to be "nurtured" and, certainly, not all need to be cherished. And all those "social media influencers" who are "interacting" with you do not have a relationship with you - you are their markets.

This hyper-connectivity is not sustainable. The cracks are already showing, the bottom will, eventually, fall out. Only AI can maintain the number of relationships that the "age of information" has made possible. Those who try to keep up will spend all their time doing only that - they will always be left trying to catch their breath. I was onboard with all of it once, I thought it was cool, it would make the world a better place and bring us all closer. But all of it, even something as innocuous as text messages, has left me rethinking what all this "bringing the world closer" has really done.

Exactly the opposite.

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