Digital hugs

I am a little tired from staying up way too late last night, and then bouncing from one meeting to another, and taking two classes at Wayne (Econ 2020, and a Business Critical thinking class if you must know) – so forgive me if I am mistaking the thoughts of the walking dead with a legitimate social observation. :)

For some reason, on my daily pilgimage to Epicurus Place restuarant from my office today, I noticed how many people were either on their cell phone, or were listening to their ipod or MP3 player. I would say a full half of the people I saw in my block and a half trip were connected to some portable device. The thought hit me that there might be some deeper need than simply the need to call a friend or listen to Shoegaze; I think it is like a digital hug.

I know that we are easily the most mobile generation; in the macro and micro sense – does this come with a self protective impulse to make up for physical proximity with virtual proximity? Are we like cats that are happier when the TV is left on in the apartment to give us the feeling that someone is there? They say that the midwest and the Detroit area in particular is “colder” than other parts of the union…Are we colder by nature, or just by action? Just noticing this addiction made me want to go find a friend and hang out. Digital hugs might get you back to zero from a deficit, but we still need the real thing.

Like I said…maybe its sappy, because I’m tired. ;)

2 Comments so far

  1. MGal (unregistered) on September 9th, 2005 @ 8:29 am

    I dunno.. Having come from Maine, I have found Detroit a mix of friendliness/coldness. I get a kick out of talking to strangers and watching reactions – I love it when someone responds positively. Some of my best conversations have been with complete strangers who really just want to interact with someone/anyone. Detroit can be a lonely place.

  2. lisa (unregistered) on September 10th, 2005 @ 11:55 am

    An interesting point … it seems these digital hugs simultaneously bring us closer to other people and keep us apart. It brings to mind one evening I was sitting at home alone, feeling lonely, and I turned on the television and immediately felt better, as I was able to digitally (or analogally?) empathize with the characters. I felt more human. Now, if the digital devices were not around, what would I have done? Maybe looked around the neighborhood for someone to chat with, who knows? I probably wouldn’t have gotten the same satisfaction from a chat with a near-stranger, but it would have been more lasting … an interesting paradox. I think you’re right, Doug. Digital hugs are nice, but you do need the real thing too :-P

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