I am struck so funny by something this afternoon as I sit and type in Panera Bread. There are several other people dining by themselves during peak dinner hours. Now I consider my laptop a companion so I am not truly "alone" but those that are here for dinner and dinner alone, I wonder, are they here alone by choice or do they have no other choice.
But the the fact that I do consider my laptop a companion leads me to another thought. Although I can facebook with best of the them and get immense joy out of doing so, if I am honest it doesn't lead me any closer to community in the flesh. My laptop and web-browsing do not call me out when I am off base, they rarely make laugh outloud and they surely do not give me the fullness of satisfaction that comes with a coffee shop date with a friend. Let me give a disclaimer however that I do believe true community does happen online when I read the heart of a friend on a blog or recieve an email from someone I love.
That said, there is nothing that can replace relationship and I believe each of us NEED, not even want sometimes, but NEED people in our daily lives that we can care for and who will care for us. If I look at the trends in social networking it seems obvious that people are sharing more of their lives, thier deeper selves through their twittering, facebooking, flickering, linking in, blogging...I am not asking that we discontinue with these practices. Instead I am asking us to recognize the roles they play in our relationships and determine balance.