First Contact

Many of us tend to mark our relationships based upon a place, experience, or time period they began. For instance, I have friends I have known since high school. Others that began at past jobs. Still others are tied to events. For instance, I met my wife when her computer broke through a mutual friend who called on me for help.

These marks also infer a relative timeline for the length of the relationship and, sometimes, even its depth. If I tell you about my friend Dan who I have known since high school, that automatically tells you I have known him for a fairly long time. You might even infer that the relationship was a close one if we are still friends after all these years.

If I tell you about a guy I used to work with a particular company, and you also know that this company closed in the late 1990’s, you now know I have known him for a bit more than 10 years and, once again, if we are still in touch it must have been a relationship of some meaning.

We have so many more places we are now. For example, I have friends on Twitter that I have known since we met on Jaiku. I can use that now departed social network as a place – a point of first contact – as any other. Saying this, you know roughly how long I have known them in that context. And what does the fact that we remain friends infer? Perhaps one might guess that we followed each other to this new network after the other one died to maintain that connection.

I’m sure some of us have a few friends that we know from, say, Facebook that are not on Twitter so we maintain a presence on both. Still other relationships can blossom in online forums or blogs that we frequent and comment on.

I wonder if will one day, many years from now, I’ll be able to say, “I’ve known her since Twitter” and have that impart the same sort of immediate understanding of length and importance as high school does?

All of this is to say that these virtual places are as much a point of beginning and ending as those we have long-held in the real world. And, just like school or business or events, these virtual places begin and end, open and close, occur and stop. Yet, as well, the connections and relationships are what remain and the strongest transcend.

home/ journal/ books/ dash/plus/ archives/ rss