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Mad man with a moment of clarity: What's missing from this electronic wonderland? Human contact. Discount the fawning techno-burble about virtual communities. Computers and networks isolate us from one another. A network chat line is a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee. No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert. And who'd prefer cybersex to the real thing? While the Internet beckons brightly, seductively flashing an icon of knowledge-as-power, this nonplace lures us to surrender our time on earth. A poor substitute it is, this virtual reality where frustration is legion and where--in the holy names of Education and Progress--important aspects of human interactions are relentlessly devalued.



Earlier today I went to the Facebook profile of a friend of mine who lives out of state. He had uploaded a video of his child singing and had it on his profile.

There are many more means of human contact than meeting at a coffee shop.

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Exactly. The internet is a complement to, not a replacement for, face-to-face contact.

See also: that little known and rarely used technology, the telephone.

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The death of one form of social contact gives birth to others.

Today via Facebook I was able to set up lunch with a few people I haven't seen for months (one of them, years) - all effortlessly, all without having to track down contact information that in the old world would have been woefully out of date. All instantly.

Next week I'm going to be showing up to a random improv thing along with hundreds of random strangers whom I've never met before. I will likely chat with a lot of them, and maybe make a new friend or two. Try that before the internet.

Heck, on one of my subscribed subreddits someone has taken the liberty of setting up a weekly board-games-and-meetups night for community members to hang out. These people have never met prior to this, and save for a common interest in a website would never have met.

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In my opinion, the most exciting new uses of technology today involve bringing people together in real life, creating a more social world.

TV isolated us. The web will bring us together.

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I do agree with his remarks, though the internet has come quite a ways since then in adding "human contact." Things like video chat give me the opportunity to talk to people with more human contact than I would otherwise be able to because of distance. Overall though, despite all the things I like about the internet, it is not a substitute for going outside and talking in person.

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