Glass: An Exploration of Internet Connection

Clickclickclick click click clickclick. Merely 100 years ago, someone may have heard this unfamiliar sound and been curious of what it was. Now, the sound of fingers on a sleek, black keyboard fill coffee shops as the soundtrack of business. The soundtrack of leisure. The soundtrack of friendship.

Yes, right — I’m well-aware that these cold, metal surfaces and shiny glass screens are the root of all evil. Instead of engaging with those around us, we stare at retina displays and move effortlessly from one page to the next, pinning the perfect sour-cream enchiladas and the most minimalist trend in home decor. Sensationalists not by nature, but by design, we take in data by the gigabite day in and day out, experiencing a perfectly curated, perfectly pixelated version of reality.

Yes, the internet is a terrible place where humanity goes to die. Where humanity goes to be less human and more virtual. Where humanity goes to celebrate minimalism, but only if it can be bought.

…But what happens when the internet is treated as a springboard for humanity to be more human? To be more in-the-flesh, to be more connected, to be more liked?

In the historic era, pre-internet, friendship and relationships were created by proximity alone. People were friends with their neighbors, their classmates, acquaintances from the barber shop or a common church service. Individuals met and connected simply because they lived in the same locale and drank from the same water source. To maintain a contact long-distance required time, effort, and intention.

It’s 2014. To maintain a contact long-distance still requires time, effort, and intention, but the beauty of this is that by seeing glimpses into others’ lives, you do not rely on proximity alone to connect with like-minded and like-hearted individuals. Even a forged online presence offers a glimmer of truth because it reveals an ideal.

Meeting internet friends IRL (that’s “in real life,” for you those of you who don’t speak internet slang) can be awkward, but it can also be invigorating. Sometimes you meet someone, and it just clicks. Sometimes the god-awful internet serves as a springboard for shared experiences, like-mindedness, with somebody worth connecting with.

If I may predict, I would suppose that as history continues to write itself, we’re going to maintain this love/hate relationship with our devices. Loving them, then hating them, then addicted to them, then in a relationship with them, then relying on them to serve our slew of self-worth needs, then connecting through them, and appreciating them.

Because we’re all human. We’re just connected through glass.

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