Internet, Friends

I feel the internet was doomed primarily by the lack of friendship on the internet. Notwithstanding the fury and worry over what the internet might be doing to us, how it might distract us and alienate us from our own thinking and what is most important, the lack of genuine friendship through the internet has been the greatest threat to the viability of the internet as a practice within the society, as a social practice. We are more interested in the number of our friends, our “followers,” than we are in cultivating genuine friendship through the means of the internet and its “social media.” We are more interested in petty and superficial disagreements, in which one oppenent “destroys” the other than we are in enriching one another, and affirming the other we encounter through the internet’s flow and channels, the way friends affirm and enrich one another. We are more interested in those flimsy disagreements than we are in disagreements about the deepest things, and in the way these latter disagreements can transform all of the parties concerned. We have limited ourselves to a certain narrowness in the way we encounter one another on the internet, a narrowness in which giggles and violence, obscenity and streams of nonsense have become the norm. We giggle even at the pain of our fellows, because it is easy. The screen makes even the atrocious easy…accessible. We have taken the path of least resistence on the internet, the path of our cruelty and crudeness, rather than the harder path of genuine friendship, of cultivated culture and community.

But this path has been open to us, and is still open to us now. The internet itself does not condemn us to lack of friendship. Only lack of friendliness can create lack of friendship, which former lack has a deeper source than countless obsessive keystrokes over a few generations. There is a certain gentle, if still powerful, power that comes with the formation of friendships in any area. The internet is still a field of power like other spheres, and on this field there is probably a power player who does not want to see such friendships grow between strangers. Or there are several of these power players who make it their goal that such friendship will never be cultivated on the internet, or at least that the formation of such friendship will remain unlikely. Yes, since even at the point when you find others with like or loveable mind and heart over these networks and streams of information, you are quickly urged to monetize the following. Either monetize or swiftly make of the following an “in group” as opposed–so opposed, so many wasted words–to the “others, out there.” If we affirm the other it is not for the other’s sake, at least not ultimately, but for the sake of keeping the great machinery of it all running, using one another as resources for further fame and the further expansion of our projects. Our affirmations are not sustained enough, either in our agreements or our disagreements, to give birth to a genuine difference, the way the encounter of friendship tends to do. We stick one another in the same and grow more stuck in the same in the way we perpetually interact with one another in the same way on the internet. More insults, more jokes, a couple likes, a few flat comments. We forget of the woman who replied to your one poem you figured no one would ever read, who accesses the internet on her lunch break at the nearby library, who carries the poem with her in the form of a memory of a few of its lines. We forget that all of the hodgepodge of insanity we post on the internet might contain a gem here or there that can change the very way a woman breathes as she approaches her own battles in the world of flesh, and might change a lot more if we give all of our online flailing room to stretch and room to breathe itself, if we give it the chance to become something other than what it tends to be. If we had the slightest amount of faith in the thing and the friends we might come to by way of the thing. The way we have had faith–nothing but faith–in our true friends so far.


  1. Stacey C. Johnson says:

    Cheers to you, friend! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      Double cheers to you, friend of mine. Such brilliance in this little corner of ours.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Richard Q says:

      Such a sweet sound, your words!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m interested in forming genuine connections and friendships in our WP community. You made some great points about faith and the ability to perhaps make a difference in someone’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      I can feel that already from you, and from your own way of reaching out into the world. I have been amazed by what I am finding now of writing communities online. There is a tremendous amount of encouragement and upbuilding here…and my hope and passion is that such communities thrive.

      Thank you so much, Avigail. Feel free to reach out anytime!

      Liked by 1 person

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