April 22, 2004

But is anybody listening? The World Wide Web is a huge library of information. Just today, a colleague and I were musing at the power of the Internet and how our filing cabinets were dinosaurs of a different age; an age that ended within the past decade. You used to print out or copy articles of interest, highlight information that might be important to you and then stick it in a filing drawer, to be pulled out years later when someone had a question. It was the difference between being a sage and just being an old employee, or perhaps the difference between being a pack rat or not.

The Internet makes us all librarians of our little corner of the Universe, whether something interesting is happening around us or not. Blogging is a dream situation that historians of the ancient worlds could only wish for. Looking at the massive amounts of information, both corporate and individually donated, the library of the Internet allows me to instantly transport to any corner of the globe to see what is happening. In Iraq, unknown citizens have created a running tally of the events of the day. Here in the United States, a few hundred more pundits rattle on about the events that they hear about, but the real question on my mind is: Does Anybody Listen?

And I don't mean are they reading the blogs and newspapers and websites. I mean, is anybody actually listening to what they have to say? During the initial Iraq bombing (the second round - when Junior invaded the land), I must admit to having checked on the Salam Pax blog several times per day, just to try to get an inkling of what was going on over there. I thirsted for real person, first-hand accounts of the situation. At the same time, even though I read his blog, I don't believe that any of his thoughts, his dreams, or his opinions really hit home with me. I logged into the web, looked up the information that I wanted to know (i.e. how the battle was going), and then logged off. The poor man shed his soul on his website almost daily when he could, yet I know that I never spent more than a fleeting moment reading what he had to say.

I see that people visit my blog. Occasionally, they'll click on the photo link, but more often than not, the page that they come into the site on is the same page they leave on. They don't click Home. They don't care what I have to say or want to know anything about me. They get their information, and they leave. Hell, I don't blame them. I do the same thing. But I wonder if the loss of the social interaction in these mindless computers is affecting us.

In the real world, if someone came to you for information, you might stop, chat, ask about their family, share other meaningful dialogue, and then come to the point. Perhaps you might even follow up with the person to let them know that they were helpful to you. With the web, I don't even get an email (although I know some of you have come here with SPECIFIC problems that were solved by my posts) in response. The requestors are nothing but anonymous IP addresses, rather than possible acquaintences and potential friends. The web is a soul-less monster.

But why should I bother even writing about this? After all, no one is listening.

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