Let me start by saying that I love love love being connected. I first got interested in the power of the Internet in the early 90's, when I was teaching Spanish in a remote area. Wouldn't it be great if we could use the Internet to give the students authentic learning experiences? So I packed up and went to grad school to learn how to use this great medium.
And boy, did I learn. What I learned most is that there are always more ways to learn with the Internet. Social networking is the biggie these days: connecting with people via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and various others. And I've got spaces on them all (hey, I have to for work. I love my job.) I found old undergrad buds, elementary school chums, and even former teachers. My dad even found a place where he could reconnect with his service buddies. But is it always a good thing?
I ran into an old grad-school buddy on Facebook, my favorite. She's now on another continent, but Facebook lets us keep in contact. With our first few messages, she asked if I knew where an old friend of ours ended up. An unusual name and a web search meant that I found her in short order and emailed almost immediately. It was a while before I heard back. In that time, I wondered. Does she want to hear from me? Is it possible that hearing from me reminds her of some things that she'd rather forget? I remember the good times we shared. But there are also some other times that are quite difficult for both of us.
Fortunately, she sounded glad to hear from me. She'd been looking for me too. So I dodged a bullet on that one.
The bullet came back today. I got a friend request from someone I'd known most of my life but had not seen in over ten years. The last time I saw him was a rough time, and I wasn't really sure that I would or would even want to hear from him again. When I think of him, I remember not the good times but the last time that I saw him, which was difficult for us both. While curious to know what hands life had dealt him (which is probably the reason he wanted to connect with me), I was unsure about re-establishing contact. (And no, it wasn't dangerous or violent or stalker-ish. It was just...difficult.)
What are the implications of this global connection? Is it good? Or does it mean that we will never have closure?
What do you think? And, more importantly, would you have accepted the friend request?