Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After much consideration ...

I have been saying that I will do this for a long time. Finally I will give voice to the inner dialogues I always am having. (No, I don't mean I am hearing voices - and anyway, they like me better than they like you.)

So here we are, a new year ... 2011. I remember when that was the stuff of science-fiction. Remember the novel 1986? Or how about the TV show, Space: 1999? Yes, I am from the era when TV was black and white, phone calls to another state where expensive and only for emergencies, and telephones had to be attached to the wall by a wire, and a game which gave you the right answer by connecting an electrical circuit was amazing. Computers? They were something that big corporations had that filled a whole room with flashing lights, huge reels of magnetic tape and punch cards. How did we ever survive you ask. But we did.

So I was thinking about what earth shattering and totally captivating topic should I pick for my first blog entry ... my reactions to the horrific events that have taken place in Arizona ... the frightening floods in Australia ... my latest trip to Walt Disney World? And then a friend (in Queensland, Australia - site of the current horrendous flooding) tweeted this, "It's a small world. There is just one moon and one golden sun." and it got me thinking about just how small the world has become thanks to the internet.

For those like me, whose "touchable" world as we were growing up was our immediate block and our neighborhood, imagine the amazing ability all of a sudden to be part of a truly global community.

My first steps into that world - in the days before the internet was available to everyone - was through dial-up BBS's (bulletin board systems). In fact, on the table next to me I still have an old AT clone which I can still turn on and have my own bbs connected to the world. Of course, you still needed to make a phone call and keep the line tied up while you were connected, and long distance, even a short distance away, was relatively expensive, but you could now connect and "meet" a wider circle of people.

And then it happened ... the internet. I first became connected at work, where email - still a new concept then - was common, especially since we dealt with people in all parts of the world. But when I was introduced to Gopher, a non-graphical internet interface, my world changed. I soon discovered CompuServe and others of that ilk that were the main conduit of internet connectivity in those days. And then a new phenomenon - Internet Service Providers (ISP's) began appearing and you could connect directly to the net without subscribing to an information provider as well.

BBS's were replaced with forums (fora?) and soon I was meeting people with similar interests from other parts of the US. At first they were no more than "handles" that preceded text based messages. But then as we traveled, or they traveled, I started meeting some of the "handles" and they now were flesh and blood people who I could talk face to face with. People with whom I share interests online have become people I have met. (Hello to all you RADPers and LPers!)

Soon it was more than people in the US, I started connecting with folks in other countries who I would never have had the ability to have met before this revolution in communications. Imagine "meeting" people who live in Australia - about as far away from where I live as you can get - and becoming friends. And then, in fact, meeting one and sharing the common interest that originally created the friendship? Yes, that has happened.

Yet I have heard people say that online friends aren't "real" friends. I have to disagree, especially now when communication with someone on the other side of the world is easier today (via text, voice, and picture) than calling someone in another state just a few miles away was when I was a kid. And it is free! (What do you think? Are online friends "real" friends? Comment below.)

But now, when tragedy strikes as is currently happening in Australia with the floods, it's not just something I may (or may not) see for a brief moment on the nightly news, but it strikes home as I know so many people who actually not only live in Australia, but in Queensland where the floods are now consuming (yes that is what I meant to say) an area larger than Texas - or France & Germany combined, if you prefer. I now have concern for flesh and blood people who I truly worry about.

(No matter where you live, I urge you to help in any way you can. Here is a good place to start if you would like to help the relief effort. I have.  Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal )

And there you have my first attempt at a brain dump. Expect to hear my thoughts on things as important as the Arizona shootings in the future, but don't be surprised by my showing off and bragging about my grandtwins. I won't promise that there will be an entry every day, though at times there might be, but I do intend to have at least one update a week. Please stop by and share your thoughts with me as well. And, oh yeah, spread the word about this blog - the more the merrier.


  1. I would say yes Online Friends are Real Friends for sure. I have many online friends who have been there for the many important moments in the last 15 years of my life. Some I have met in person once or twice others never but they are definitely real true friends. :)

  2. The floods are now twice the size of Texas...

    I have online friends that I absolutely consider true friends.... other online friends are more a source of information and amusement.

    I trust you with my wife (that came out sounding wrong) so you can guess where you stand.

  3. Well here you go ... two of my true friends that I have met onlline. One who lives in my own state of NY and I have met IRL, while the other lives halfway around the world, and is as good a friend as any other. (And no, not because he lent me his wife).

    (You're right Pete - I guess it sounds wrong no matter how you put it. Stay safe!!)

  4. Online friends are definitely "real" friends. I've met 3 of my very best friends through the intergoogles! We've all met in person now (several times), but even before we met, I considered them friends.

    Or as a little comic I have on my computer says:
    "I love my computer - my friends live in here."

  5. On-line friends are REAL friends and I have enjoyed the friendships too. And met some of them and they are not axe murderers.

  6. Mark and Pete - have you guys quite finished talking about me? ;-)

    Dena - intergoogles! Love it!! LOL

    Needless to say, of course I consider online friends to be real friends. I have met way too many of them over many years to not feel that way.

    The other big thing more recently is social media. This has enabled people to find friends they have lost touch with, and rekindle old friendships as if no time has passed even if those people are on the other side of the country, or even the world. And that's without adding in the fabulous new friends that can be collected along the way. :)

  7. finally get to comment!

    I most definitely think that my friends who live in my laptop (and also on my phone) are REAL friends. Truth be told, I much prefer the ones in the box far more than some of the ones who I have met 'out of the box' ;) I too have been blessed to be able to meet quite a lot in the real world, but even if I hadn't of been able to do that, they are still very dear to me.

    Plus I met my husband 'in the box' so I must think that way hey? LOL

    BTW, looking forward to reading more from those voices in your head!

  8. Rofl - I remember when you first popped up in aus! I waited a week or two to see if you were an odd person...and found out that you were only as odd as the rest of us! I have met a few of our online friends. When we went on holidays and met up with people my kids would say 'are they internet friends?'
    As for the axe murderers...my cousin had something to say about a woman who waS capable with a chainsaw.
    I now have people I worry about whatever the news report are. I quckily scan the net to find are they ok?
    The world is growing smaller - I can now embarrass myself (and my children) in several different countries at once! But I can also feel the global warmth when I need it.
    Welcome to the dark side! Enjoy yourself.

  9. Sorry Mark I'm playing with the comments box trying to get it right so I can comment on new posts. www.feral007.com/