The Depressing Internet and the Refreshing Real World, for a change

Browsing around the web can be such an echo chamber, reinforcing everything you’re looking for, for better or worse. The addition of social networking has exacerbated the effect–now you can feel as popular or unpopular as you’d like, depending on the variable you’re looking to compare. At 12:30am on this Saturday morning, my glass is decidedly not full. Hopefully in the morning it’ll all be better.

Even with all our methods of contact and keeping in touch, does it really help us to feel any more a part of a community? Sure, there are more places to participate, but that also means there are more places to feel behind or out of the loop. With all the communities where one can be popular, one can always turn a corner to find a place where they really haven’t made it.

Both locally and nationally I can always turn to my left and see someone who’s made it big. While I may not be a worthy judge, deep down I still have some opinion about whether or not they deserve it. When it comes to internet popularity the “wisdom of the crowd” is so often merely a litmus test for “pretty good” but rarely accurate enough for “truly the best.” The difference between a hero and a superhero is how many sneezing fans they have, not the existence of superpowers.

At dinner with Tony tonight I mentioned how it’s best to put our energy into the few areas where we can really make a difference–how I’ll never be a truly great dancer or writer, but that I stand a chance at certain things with technology. It’s the best place for where my passion and knowledge intersect in ways that are somewhat unique. But looking around me tonight, those who were motivation earlier seem to possess superpowers now.

In the morning, I’ll find the voice of reason again. Tomorrow is a day full of gatherings and some decidedly good company. Staying away from the web for a while is probably a good idea. After all, as a means to happiness, crowds online will never compare to the smiles and musings of friends who are ignorant enough to choose you over the other 422 people on their buddy list.

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