New Media and How We Communicate.

Thanksgiving Day at my house was a perfect commentary on modern life and technology. We gathered around the turkey and stuffing for a couple of hours, finished the dishes and spread out. I waddled downstairs to sit at my computer desk, logged on to Instant Messenger, Facebook, and my blog and began writing and looking at various things. After a bit, I walked into the family room, where my sister sat alone on her laptop on AIM, facebook, and her school website working on homework. I walked upstairs to get a piece of pie, and my mom was on the internet checking her email. My aunt had sent pictures from the party they had earlier that morning. A party held across town that we did not go to. So here we were… Three family members on a holiday where you are thrown together to communicate. One of three days out of the year you might see each other, and we spent it online, away from each other.

It’s not like I wasn’t communicating with people. I was IMing friends, writing on facebook walls, and blogging on my personal blog.

I just wasn’t communicating with my family face to face. Now, most people reading this probably think that that is crazy and a little wrong. But I guarantee that people do the same thing. We are better connected to those we love (and those we don’t even really care about) then any generation has ever been. Yet we still feel a little disconnected and lonely.

Let me float a theory. We are the greatest informed generation ever. One New York Times paper contains the same amount of information that the average person in the Middle Ages learned in one lifetime. We can go to sites like Joost, Vuze, You Tube, Hulu, Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, and hundreds of other websites to waste time. We go to these sites, and we fill our lives with little glimpses of other peoples lives so we don’t have to go out and meet new friends in person. In some cases, we don’t have to live our own. There is all the benefit of new friends and fun without any of the rejection. Before you meet someone in person, you can check their interests to make sure they match up with your own.

Is there something wrong with this? Is my generation wrong for pushing the creative envelope online? Or are we missing something that other generations have had?

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Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.

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