distant self, love media, civic media

If the culture of the online world has no rules, we certainly observe patterns, most of them affecting relationships. Online connections are the new ways of the heart, less sensory, much more verbal, and praising the virtual connection itself. The downside is that it has made us human commodities in search of the self; and romance is just like a multi-layer game happening in the virtual world. How to break the pattern and ease the search is a challenge. Men and women, older generation and youth, all seem to be in different paces.

Reading about unions of 20+ years that get shattered by social networking to the difficult task of online dating, I conclude that there are more misses than hits in the telematic world. I’m not old-fashioned, absolutely; it’s just that it seems juicier and real when it doesn’t involve a screen. If a guy leaves his wife of many years because he got in touch with a childhood sweetheart through facebook, this is a direct result of the new social computing. He is nostalgic for former intimacies. The couple who had been together since their early twenties broke up thanks to the new technology; and the politician who leaves his wife to be with his mistress in distant Argentina does it thanks to an online hook up that made them feel like teens. The pattern is distance, one of distant intimacy, the other of time. The husband looked backward in time not to dwell on banal dealings he would have with his wife in the present. Email was a point of entry to what was an indication of being alone. Just as the politician wife, that thought the husband wanted to be alone away from his kids to write; ‘taking a hike on the Appalachian’. Both wanted to disappear ‘back in time’….the safe distant. Both were looking for the distant other again.

In these departures and arrivals, the connection is the star, the freedom of the virtual world is the new epistolary romance; and the media testifies as it brings about the truth in it’s civic new role, defined by the patterns of our new lifestyle, that of social computing. While youth knows the exact time to power down and drop the lvu spelling innovation of the txt romance; the older generation, who grew up reading Bronte and Byron, makes it bigger and louder, ignoring the limits and the power of the virtual world.