Last week I had the privilege of attending the Catholic New Media Conference in Arlington, Texas.
I attended numerous inspiring presentations, exchanged cards with dozens of folks, bought several new books and had an overall amazing time.
But, I think the BEST part of those 2 days was being in the real, physical presence of so many people. People I have read for years. People I tweet, people I’ve “friended”. Actual co-workers that I had only corresponded with via email, chat and phone. But finally, I was able to sit next to them. Save them a seat. Stroke their baby’s soft head. It was real. And it was beautiful!
So, my question is, in this world of digitized EVERYTHING, how can we keep that reality with us? How do we make it a priority? Because, despite the wonder of technology and the internet, personal relationships are infinitely more important than any other kind of relationship. It makes me think of the sacraments and sacramentals of the church – visible signs of an invisible reality. God has created us to be ‘in touch’. He even made our Church to have tangible aspects to keep our hearts and minds close to Him.
I think the tangible is important in relationships, too.
Lisa Schmidt wrote beautifully yesterday about ‘ambient intimacy’ accrued by our internet interactions. She writes of great saints who kept in touch primarily by writing letters. I guess we do the same.
But in this world of flooding information, of split second correspondence, how do we make sure that we are being sincere? At least back in the letter-writing days it took at least a good quarter of an hour to jot down thoughts. Now we can ‘friend’, comment, quote, and share almost in our sleep.
I don’t want my real friendships to become less important. I want my friendships to become more real. I know that fuzzy-brain feeling of sitting too long on Twitter, on closing the laptop and realizing that most of those people have a clue about my real life.
What do you think? How do we keep our lives ‘real’ in the midst of our digital world? How do we create ‘real’ friendships from our online interactions?