I always kind of assumed that when I was a bit older or something I’d get bored of large swathes of the internet. That I’d use Facebook and email to stay in touch with people but other than that, well, nothing. That I’d stop writing a blog, I’d stop going on MSN and talking to people there, I’d stop reading webcomics or other peoples’ blogs.
I still kind of believe that. There’s a bit of me that thinks there’s something a bit weird about, say, married people who blog – about baby’s first word or that funny thing that happened on the way to the supermarket or their in-laws hilariously outdated and dodgy political views or whatever – that I blog because I’m single, I spend a lot of my time on my own working in my own little bubble and so this is an easy and itneresting way of reaching out to the rest of hte world without having to leave my desk. Even now part of me thinks this is a little bit sad, somehow. That I ought to be outside at the pub or drinking coffee with friends – except that I spend a significant chunk of my time doing those things already, it’s not as if I’m lonely, so that can’t be why I do this. It’s not as if I don’t have massively interesting and informed debates with my friends over coffee and tea and ale in the real world, either, it’s not as if I haven’t subjected them all, severally, to the rantwhinebitchwhingebrainsplurge on the subject of my education, miseducation, or otherwise, just for a recent example, more than once.
I do also assume that somehow once I am ‘an adult’ I will somehow no longer have the time for this virtual world. But it’s not as if I’m not incredibly busy at the moment, either, and it’s not as if keeping a blog requires huge amounts of time or thought – words just flow from brain to fingers and I write them, it’s as simple as that, it’s only irritating that I type so fast that my hands get slightly out of sync and the letters get in the wrong order sometimes (I hope you’ve all got as used to ‘becuase’ as I have, because it’s there to stay and I’m sorry), or my other favourite, my brain goes completely doo-lally and we go in for phonetic typing such that ‘in sync’ becomes ‘in sink’ and ‘there’ ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ are simply confused because they all sound the same so surely (thanks, Brain) it doesn’t matter.
So. I’m unlikely to run out of the time to have a blog. And you all know me, I’m unlikely to run out of things to say. And, not to boast, I’m not likely to run out of readers. And it’s my primary means of contact with some friends and although those friendships (if that’s what you can yet call them) are gradually moving into emails and even, tentatively, real life, we don’t always have the time for five paragraphs of intense social commentary in an email when you can write a comment just to say, hello, hope you’re OK. So what is going to happen? When will this stop? Does it stop?
And what about Skype and MSN? It’s on in the background, I’m usually on ‘appear offline’, I haven’t had an online conversation with anyone for weeks, actually, a few people have attempted to catch me, I’ve tried to say hello to one or two people in the rare moments that I have the time and am not doing something more useful or more relaxing, but, ships in the night. But sometimes it is useful. When you don’t want to phone because it’s expensive or late at night or you’re also trying to hang up your laundry or whatever. When you just want to quickly organise something with a group of people. When you want to stay in touch with home friends and you’re at uni – I think that’s its main use for me. And, shamefully, those conversations you start having which are very lighthearted and backgroundy and you’re working at the same time but then gradually you get all deep and serious and late night and emotions come crawling out of the woodwork and actually those are conversations that perhaps you’d never dare have face to face because that’s just scary and will I be any better at talking about my feelings when I really am a grown-up? I doubt it. Not, actually, that I’m all that bad at it, when it comes to it. Bite the bullet, say what you’re really thinking, no-one needs a screen to hide behind except that equally you’ve made me blush, or I really don’t want you to see/hear me crying and thank god if we’re on MSN I can be far more matter-of-fact and nonchalant. Don’t tell me that you don’t sometimes prefer it like that.
I think my dad feels that it’s kind of sad that we all still use these forms of communication that we were desperately attached to when we were fifteen. But I think our use of them has evolved. Who still has song lyrics for their MSN name, or uses some ridiculously unreadable font and a billion animated emoticons? I can’t imagine still having conversations over the internet in real time when I’m fifty. But equally, it’s somehow quite useful, and I can’t see why or when it’s going to stop. I think the internet has changed our lives and the course of our lives to come more than we can quite imagine.
But I really, really don’t want to be a fifty-year-old blogger with an MSN account and a webcam. I want to check emails once a day, and otherwise, read a book, phone a friend, watch telly. Possibly have facebook. Check the news online sometimes from work during a tea break. That’s enough internet. No more internet. But really, what would be wrong with occasionally skypeing my sister, say, or putting pictures up on this blog of the kitchen units I just built, (YES I will build them myself, I got all inspired by my neighbour’s handbuilt, home-made kitchen and now I want to try) or writing about my thoughts on the new Green PM or the end of oil or whatever.
Oh, future, you weird and scary thing.