No longer do people need to venture out into the world to find like minded individuals. Meetings of the lonely and the fantastic can be orchestrated online. The internet has changed social networking. Yes, social networking existed before the internet. It occurred in meeting rooms, activity halls, church basements, recreation rooms, bars, chain restaurants, comic book stores, head shops, parks, beaches, anywhere. These meetings were arranged by other people and orchestrated by flyers and phone calls, not message boards and Facebook statuses. There are ups and downs to the Internet’s methods..and advocates passionately for and against each.
In the times of written correspondence and phone trees, it would take days, at the very least hours, to bring people together. With the help of the Internet, one’s reach FAR exceeds one’s grasp. In seconds, you can reach thousands, even millions with the right buttons to push (or click). Resources are vast and commentary and opinions are unchecked. You can be anyone you want to be online and thus hide your identity while still expressing yourself and keeping said expressions safe from family, friends, children and colleagues who may otherwise be perturbed by reading the things you write. Anyone can now purge their minds and make a difference. In this way, therapy has taken on a whole new meaning. Think you’re coming down with some dire sickness? Head over to WebMD, input your symptoms, and have it out with others on the message boards. Upset about the cinema portrayal of your favorite book? Go to Rotten Tomatoes or Fandango and find others who share your views. Wish you lived 500 years ago? Find the leaders of your shire on the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) website and join the household of your choosing in welcoming the Queen at the next banquet. With the net, these places exist digitally and anyone can get to them without trains, planes, automobiles, or spaceships.
The downside? With the net, these places exist digitally and anyone can get to them without trains, planes, automobiles, or spaceships. You may have done a double take at my redundant statement. Think about this, though. With all of the advances of the digital age and all of the ways things are made easier, the jobs created for the hard ways are being wiped out. In this time of recession, one can make money selling goods that don’t even exist in a world that is completely fictional. People that used to dream of adventures and work toward achieving them now sit in front of their computers conversing in chat rooms and becoming heroes in MMORPGs. The world inside their minds that they can see portrayed in front of them, led on by other real people sitting in front of their computers with the same goals in mind, is more appealing than the mundane jobs that they’ve been forced to hold. This is their escape, their therapy, and without proper balance, their undoing. So what is this balance? How does one find it without giving up the salvation they’ve found in interacting with their fellows on the internet?