I choose to focus on Kevin Robins who in summary from page 227 says:
With the advancement of new technologies we are able to engage with others and the level of connection is greater since these new relationships are on purpose, because of a similarity rather than a real world location. With the advent of online networks there is the possibility of “greater closeness” with others that we would interact with in a virtual network anyway. The relationships we form in online communities are linked to the real life interactions we have and the standards of connectedness that we are accustomed to in this generation.
I agree with Robins in that we are experiencing greater levels of connectivity than ever before; all because of technology.
As humans we bond from birth. We bond with our mothers, fathers, and depending on the family circle, everyone else.
As we grow up we form our own friendships and bond with people outside of our family circle.
It’s what we do.
Yes, there are those who are recluse. In instances like this there is not a desire for connectivity.
I am focusing on those who wish to connect.
We form bonds that last lifetimes.
For most of our friendship we have lived on opposite sides of the US.
I was in California, and she in New York.
Funny thing now, she moved back to California and I moved here to Washington.
My point is we are connected, and from early on we did things to stay connected.
We sent cassette tapes back and forth, wrote letters, and talked on the phone.
Many of our connections were asynchronous, like when I sent a letter I had to wait for a response, similar to email.
We stayed connected.
And we still stay connected, but today we do it in different ways.
With the invention of Instant Messaging (IM), we have synchronous communication similar to a phone call.
We Facebook, email (she would like me to Skype, and I want her to Twitter, maybe someday), text, and we talk on the phone.
But when we do talk on the phone I am not sitting on my parent’s kitchen floor, attached to the wall by the cord from the big black rotary dial phone that they had.
I am going on a walk, grocery shopping, doing homework sitting on the couch, laying in my bed, or driving.
Yes dad, I have on my Bluetooth (or do you say I have my Bluetooth in?). Anyway…
We have the same closeness that we have always had we just use different tools to connect.
And now to bring it all back together.
When we think about virtual connections and remembering some are human and some are nonhuman, what matters is the connectivity and how we co-mingle with our new technologies that allow us to stay connected in new and convenient ways.
We expect to meet new people, make new connections, and form new bonds.
By interacting within our online or virtual communities with our laptops and smart phones we are closer than ever. Today when we stay virtually connected we are doing it on purpose.
I have to physically do something when I send out a Tweet, it doesn’t spontaneously happen. I do it with a purpose, and that purpose is connection.
Again going back to what Robins said about virtual communities, it is about having similarities rather than having to do with a real world location.
And according to this guy:
it’s where I’ve met the most interesting people, learned the most interesting things, connected to new opportunities; it’s where we find growth and create new value…
I may come across a virtual community by chance but I go back because of the connections I make there, like Norm from Cheers.
Like I’ve said before this connectivity creates ambient intimacy which is what Robins is getting at here. He says:
Where geographical distance is presented as the fundamental obstacle to human communication and community, the achievement of technological proximity is presented as a solution.
There are those who disagree.
In my opinion, the term “Ambient Intimacy”, is an important psychological and communication construct that provides the WHY in how the technologies can enhance peoples behavior for the better.