Friday, October 20, 2006
  Webcams and the social fabric
Today I received a webcam that I'm going to use for my guided spiritual journal on beliefnet.

It's so much fun! We set it up, logged onto msn messenger on the computer downstairs with one username and on the computer upstairs with a different username and started sending video and audio. Amazing how something so complex can be so easy to use!

A couple weekends ago, at Context, I heard about something I'd never heard of before which was described as solo dating -- which is that two internet friends would go to the same movie the same evening and then chat online about their reactions and so on. It's not got the intimacy of going to see a movie in the same movie house, but if you and your best friends live hundreds or thousands of miles apart it's a close second. Certainly better than going to see the movie all by yourself and having no one to talk to about it.

Still, one wonders what impact the internet is having on our social relations. Internet buddies have replaced the next door neighbor as the chat buddy of choice. We don't lean over the back fence anymore, we send over the worldwideweb.

This seems to me to at once bring us closer and keep us further apart. Web conversations tend to be more easily open and frank than in the flesh ones. But it is a fake frankness? When we meet face to face does the easy openness continue or is there an awkwardness that we can never quite overcome. Does the easy openness of the internet feel the same as heart to heart conversations with a buddy in the flesh. And what of the importance of real touch. We may send cyber hugs, but they certainly can't replace physical ones.

I'm enjoying my webcame, and looking forward to being able to do web conferencing, but I hope I never find myself in the situation where all my buddies are web buddies, and I have no one with whom to share a real hug.
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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