Guilt-free Gatherings

In a past post, I compared LiveJournal to an office water cooler: a place where writers congregate and share gossip, good news, and gripes. But if, like me, you’ve ever questioned the value of spending valuable time on Live Journal, an article in last Friday’s USA Today should lay to rest any qualms you might have had.
 
Writer Janet Kornblum cites studies that indicate “Americans have a third fewer close friends and confidants than just two decades ago — a sign that people may be living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past.” She suggests that the main reasons for this social distancing are that “More people live in the suburbs and spend more time at work … leaving less time to socialize or join groups.” Additionally, Kornblum says, “people have more entertainment tools such as TV, iPods and computers, so they can stay home and tune out.”  
 
I’m under no illusions that you’ll find deep intimacy on LiveJournal– if that’s a goal, it’s probably best to communicate off-line. But as Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone says, new trends, such as online social networking [read: LiveJournal], may help counter the effect” of our increased loneliness and isolation. This, of course, is something we and our community of LJ friends know from experience is trueSo from now on, when we meet and drink from our online water cooler, can we agree to leave behind that unwanted — and unwarranted — sense of guilt?

19 Comments

  1. No guilt here. I’m beginning to treasure a few of my choicest friends I’ve met here – you included. You can’t have guilt over true friendship. My only guilt comes when I talk about some of you with the fam: “Oh, you know, Melodye…the one that…” Or, “And then it was so cool when we worked on this and that. ___ and I. You know, ___.”

    No, they don’t know. That’s the only little hiccup.

  2. My wife calls it networking. And she came up with that on her own. She’s always hearing me talk about “this other woman from online” or “that one woman who started emailing me,” which must sound entirely crazy.

    So anyway, isn’t networking like a required aspect of an aspiring writer’s career development? Isn’t that working? I don’t know. Whatever the case, I won’t feel guilty anymore. I can do that.

  3. I know for myself, my lj started off as a journal, much like the one i used to write on paper..venting..
    then, i got to meet some other writers, like yourself, and everyone seems very nice, supportive, inspiring..i could go on.

  4. The guilt is so ingrained, but I will try not to feel guilty :0)

    Thanks so much for the article. I think of my LJ friends as real friends – and I’ve even had the good fortune to meet a few of them in person!

      • Yep, I’ll be there! It would be fun to meet you too!

        I’m not sure what all is going on, but we’ll have to plan a time to meet.

        BTW, I know Meg’s going, and Debbi, and Linda Joy, and I think a bunch of other LJ friends, but I can’t remember who else right now.

    • I can definitely understand that perspective. It’s so much easier to say what you want to say in print, taking the time you need to say it “right.”

      I’m glad you stopped by my LJ! I’ve read your comments before and always like seeing your comments/posts. And you’ve got a book coming out next year, right? I’m so impressed!

      If you’re not too shy or uncomfortable about it, I’d like to add you as my friend — and I’d love to have you add me back. 🙂

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