Fear of an Internet Planet

Suladog, a Livejournal friend of mine who’s a film writer, told a little story about the mixed feelings some of her peers have about embracing the potential of community through the Internet:

… two very close friends…one is the creator of a couple of hit TV series .. the other is a journalist for national magazines … we were talking about the internet and I mentioned all the journaling that’s out there … and how I have online friends … and how people talk and debate and argue and laugh and share about all sorts of things online … and I was getting blank stares.

Turns out these two never venture online, short of research or ebay. The idea of writing posts or letters and getting to know people online made their jaws drop. They both mentioned how they were out of touch with the outside world,how they wished they had people to discuss stuff with. I told them that there was a myriad of sites out there with all levels of discussion and debate. Political (one’s a libertarian), cultural, spiritual.

Somehow they both have the notion that the internet is only for people under 30. Of course I disabused them of this. They then seemed interested in making some sort of internet contacts, but when I mentioned writing posts, or comments, or e-mail they balked.

They didn’t want to have to write anything to anybody, they didn’t reallty want contact with people. They were just shutting themselves off from the world and then complaining about the fact . [My husband] said that he felt he was watching two old friends drift out to sea somewhere, and how we were trying to throw them a line.

They just feel that there’s someting going on out there that they’re somehow ineligible to participate in because they’re not in their 20’s. It actually was rather depressing. These were two people obsessed with their age, and complaining about a culture that they felt they were being left out of, when in fact they’d locked the door on the inside.