In today’s electronic world where we’re offered so many ways to communicate, true, literal communication so rarely happens. We’re inundated with vehicles to support this "communication": Cell phones, Blackberries (and for many these aren’t one and the same unless you’re like me in sacrificing the size and reception for a bill paid by our companies), Desktops, Laptops, iPods…the list goes on ad finitum.
Then the applications for these devices are numerous as well: Email. IM. Blogs. Flickr. Dodgeball. MySpace (as for the latter, God, save us all.) The list increases by the day, and we’re existing in a world where we spend time updating our ‘profiles’ on these various mediums, uploading our little mini-avatars, deciding just how it is that we want to represent ourselves to the world. We’re loathe to admit that we exist in a Match.com-ized world where
profiles take the place of presence, a clusterfuck of communication
preventing true human interaction. We’re putting ourselves out there for others to discover, spending our days creating this artificial version of ourselves, an idealized, often self-aggrandized facade of who we really are.
Oh, but that can be remedied by Tagging, you say, since others who "know" you online can thus "tag" you as how they interact with the "you" you’ve allowed them to "meet." Tags on sites like Consumating (a tongue-in-cheek free dating site for self-proclaimed geeks) have me listed as "Would-Be-Frickin-Awesome-To-Party-With", "SantasHelper", "Google-Girls" and – most appropriately – "Likes-To-Put-Things-In-Cleavage". So now, from my description of myself as well as some well-placed pictures, my persona grows.
I’m not innocent of this myself; in an email yesterday to a cute boy that I met out the other night, I replied to his suggestion of hanging out again with the following:
Hang out? As in "live, unedited, in-person"? I had just planned to stalk you in
the electronic age via Dodgeball and Flickr and all of those other
advancements that make real human contact antiquated.
I was kidding, of course, (he’s super cute, after all, so in-person meetings are desired), but really, only half-so. In the same time that it takes my Mom to remember how to "cut" and "paste" on her computer, I could have likely tracked down everything from his photos to his upcoming events, digitally stalking someone in a way that many find appropriate. Googling someone yields a ton of results, no longer just reporting on your crush’s college cross-country results; today, a simple query of "Aubrey" brings up my website as the 9th result IN THE WORLD (of 16 Million); for "Aubs", I’m most of the results on the page. These days, you seek, and OH HELL YEAH, you will find.
And it continues! I just signed up today for Vox, yet another "social networking" site (the term alone makes me vomit in my mouth just a little) from the fabulous creators of Typepad, now providing a one-stop-shop for you to publicize your "presence" on the web, if not your justification for your existence here on Earth. Your books! Your music! Your videos! Your neighborhood! "I’m here, world. Come and get me!"
That’s not to talk badly of it; if not for the Trotts and Six Apart, you, dear reader, wouldn’t have anything to read. It’s just that I’m confounded by all of these "me’s" on the web, wondering if there’s anything left that I haven’t yet given somewhere, wondering the need for yet another "me" to try and fill with interesting content out there. I can only make snide comments about ex-boyfriends on so many sites and then even I get sick of it.
Because sometiems, as a result of all the "communication" out there, I think that maybe we’ve said it all already, leaving me – for once – in person – without much to say.