The kids and I have just started reading The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey through a Century of Biology, by Bernd Heinrich. So far, it's a very good read; a compelling memoir. A few chapters in, one of my kids remarked, "We are going to have to start writing letters so that we'll have something to refer to when we write our memoirs."
I guess my mind had similar wanderings as I had, for several days, been journaling with a fairly intense day-to-day recording of events in a manner I have not managed for quite some time. There are days I am pretty sure that the computer (namely, Facebook) has ruined me for any meaningful writing that is more than a soundbite. A friend and I were talking about writing letters this past week and how we used to have long-distance friends that we only heard from a few times a year, but because we wrote long and thought-filled letters, we actually felt closer to them and knew more about their lives than we do now.
I'm sure this somehow dates me, but what I sometimes really miss are the early days of Internet, back before everybody was online and signing on meant giving up the ability to receive a phone call. Whenever I was word-thirsty, I could easily find a place to soak my mind in someone else's deep thoughts or musings. Journeying onto the World Wide Web was a constant act of discovery.
I miss those email loops where a common thread brought people together from all corners of the globe (at least, it seemed like) to discuss a topic and learn from each other. Maybe they still exist, but my experience is that the nature of that type of communication has changed dramatically.
Today, of course, there are more resources, though they are generally more commercialized and less driven by individual passion. At least, they feel that way to me. Occasionally I have found myself online, searching for some of those "friends" of old. It is interesting to see how they have evolved with the Internet. Most of them are still around in one way or another. Sometimes I long to connect and talk with them about how they've managed the voice (that I think the early days of Internet encouraged so many of us to find) in this time when everybody has one, for better or worse.
Once upon a time I felt the ability to log onto my computer and open a portal to world enlarged my mind. It allowed me to make connections with ideas and people I did not have access to before. Now sometimes I feel it makes my world too small. Maybe I'm just spending my online time in all the wrong places.