The carelessness of contact


I often rail against the idea that our digital world allows us to be too familiar, too casual, to treat people like catalog selections we can discard, disposably. I hate this, but I am equally guilty, placing blame on the platform, on time, on my own inability to stretch 24 hours into more than it can hold. Sure, I am not casual or dismissive in any way with my actual friends, but I have become one of those robots who traipses through online forums and sites, starting halfhearted conversations and dropping them. They, of course, don’t seem real. And most conversation partners engaged in this digital wasteland usually feel the same way.

But not always. (Holding up mirror to my own hypocrisy. No surprise there.)

Tonight, I started going through an old inbox, finding old, unanswered messages. Most of them were of the dull, generic, “Hi” variety. Yet there were some genuinely lovely messages… and I am the one to drop the ball, and there is no way back (“User X no longer has an account”). There’s nothing like the kick you give yourself when you realize you may have squandered a good connection. Carelessly.