Kip from Napoleon Dynamite sang at his wedding, “Yes, I love technology, not as much as you, you see. But I still love technology…” For Kip, the internet allowed him to meet and marry his soul mate Lafawndah.
For our Wed night discussion at Thinktank (a group of folks from Hope and those outside the church who gather at Starbucks to discuss a variety of issues), we spent time addressing the pros and cons of technology and its effects on relationships and community. Different people had differing opinions on the benefits and detriments of the internet, but we didn’t see any sort of generational consensus.
Certainly angry blog commenter guy who lives boldly behind a computer screen or anonymity is a negative. Other negatives expressed by a wide variety of ages included the potential breakdown of close intimate friendships. However, most of us did recognize that the internet actually helped to sustain relationships otherwise unsustainable due to conflicting schedules, physical disabilities, or geographic separation.
One of the most positive examples I can give on how technology and the internet has helped relationships and community is my kayak fishing forum. The online forum community does not serve as a replacement community. Instead it is only a starting place to begin and sustain relationships. Because of the forum, 50-60 men desiring relationships and community get together for fishing tournaments 4 times a year. And numbers of people build friendships through “meeting” and setting up fishing trips via the forum. I think that’s a huge positive otherwise impossible without the internet.
Feel free to comment on how you see a negative/positive relationship between technology and the formation of community and deep relationships.