My Dad wrote a comment in my blog in response to a suggestion by me that they weren’t interested enough to use my website for stuff (the way I made the suggestion did sound a little harsh in retrospect)…
It is not that we are not interested – it is just that we have far better things to do with our time. You know, like relating to people in real time! Yeah, OK, it’s old fashioned, but…
When I said they were not interested, it was more a reflection in the amount of time they had available to pursue this. What I should have said was that they were not interested at this point in time because of too many other commitments – that is what I meant.
The comment about relating to people in real time is an interesting one though. Relating to people in real time does become a bit of a challenge when you have friends in about 12 different timezones, and when the bulk of your friends live in a different state or country than you do !
My parents live in Murray Bridge, South Australia. They have lots of friends in the town and in the surrounding area. Chatting to someone over a cup of tea, or on the phone is the way they do things – as do most people in this world I guess.
I do enjoy getting together with my friends for a drink or dinner, or just for a chat, but I seem to have developed friendships with a lot of people who do not live in Sydney – and so keeping in touch with them is a challenge. Even keeping in touch with my friends in Sydney is a challenge when I spend so much time not actually in Sydney !
I could call them on the phone, however, timezones often pose a problem for some of my friends – so real time communication can be problematic. I have quite a few friends who congregate online in a property investment chatroom using internet relay chat (IRC) – this is a great way to keep in touch because if they are in the room – regardless of the time of day or night – you know they are able to be communicated with. When I am overseas and in a completely different timezone, I can log in to the chatroom and potentially chat to some of my friends.
However, what about my other friends who don’t hang out in that chatroom ? I can’t call them easily, I can’t meet them for coffee or dinner easily, I’m not likely to write letters or even emails to them individually on anything that resembles a regular basis – so how do I keep in touch with them effectively ? How do I let them be part of my life when relating to them in real time is so difficult ? The only time some of my friends and family get a glimpse into what I’ve been doing is in my annual Christmas letter.
What I have found with my blog is that I can let people into my life in a much more intimate way – without them needing to be communicating in real time and without any borders or boundaries. I am writing this while in Korea – I’m not about to spend hours on the phone chatting to my friends while I am here, but I can connect to the internet and post blog entries without any problems.
Writing in my blog is nowhere near as personal as dinner, a phone call, or even a letter or email. It is also not as fun or intimate as real time communication. However, what I can do is write about what I am doing and about things that interest me in a more general way – so my friends and family can read about it. Then when I do talk to people or write to them, I can concentrate on the more personal details without needing to fill in all the generic stuff about what I’ve been doing. This means I can spend less time talking about myself and what I have been doing and more time on relating to other people and discussing things of mutual interest.
The only drawback comes when I do finally get to chat to someone and I ask them “can I tell you about my trip to Korea”, and they say “nah, I read about it already in your blog” :D