Fingers rest on plastic keys and slightly smudged touchscreens as they slowly scroll down endless pages that exist only in the confines of the Internet or through control channel maps. I can physically feel the conversations emanating from my purse as my smartphone begins to vibrate.
However, I often only hear the interrupted fragments of thoughts via animated-sounding notifications, which let me know that someone on the other side of my screen has reached out.
In the age of the Internet adults and adolescents alike are extending their connections with friends and family from in-person interactions to the digital world. No longer does one longingly gaze into the distance wondering what happened to whats-her-face from high school. Now, you get to “see” her as much as you want on Facebook.
It’s a strange feeling though, to “see” someone, but to not get to see them in person. You’re continuously connected, but it’s only through glass, metals, and plastics. The Internet does such a great job of putting you in front of people that you may not have had the opportunity to otherwise, but it can only lead a horse to water. It can’t make it drink.
The extra step is the one that is the hardest for those that find comfort behind the screen. The reaching out, and the connection between two people in person seems like the most daunting part of the task to make friends.
Over the past few years, the Internet has connected me with old and new friends, business contacts, significant others and exes, new hobbies, groups, clubs, and a new online shopping habit to find the best deals. It all came fairly quickly, but the most nerve-racking part was the first meetups, and setting aside the possibility that your new hiking friend could actually be an axe murderer.
So many people blame technology and the Internet for the lack of genuine human connection, but what I have come to find out over time is that, when used correctly, the Internet serves as a way to open new doors and link together new relationships with people all over the world. I’ve also learned that, after avoiding the axe murderer scenario by being cautious and meeting up in a public place, you can even create deep, meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.