Digital Relationships

Graph theory is an interesting science. It was originally created to determine an optimal route through the European city of Konigsberg, and since then has only gotten more complex. And now, with the onset of everywhere-computing, it has came to be the science of a reality. That reality being the digital, the wired, the Internet. That used to be true at least (it was it's own). But now that's false (it's not its own). There was this separate reality, but now it has been conquered, colonized. The flesh pushed itself in, and interjected itself. But is that so bad?


You see, being always online and an e-nerd (like some guy who wouldn't hop off IRC and usenet) isn't a flex. You need to be in both. But the problem arises when that line between the two gets blurred, which it has. When people associate their digital self with their real self, and then start talking, as if that real self was channeling itself through the digital self, but that can't happen.

Abstractions are a common thing, heavily used. Modern day computing couldn't exist without abstractions. Life couldn't exist without abstractions. Thought couldn't exist without abstractions. And an abstraction inherently is a form of lossy compression. You're compressing detailed information into a more easily viewable, more detached, abstract, format. When I write something online, regardless of which of my online selves, my Jekyll self or my Hyde self (so to speak, but I am not an evil person) (I am mainly referring to the self of mine which is writing this, the one named Microbyte, versus my real self, the one who logs into his bank (one of the few things I think online that should be tied to your real self), whenever I write something online, my self, the one which I am using to write, all the ideas in my Microbyte half or my flesh half, are compressed and abstracted into a coherent thing. And that compression is lossy. And as such stuff is lost.

Since there are two versions of me, and I wish to make a point, I would now like to say which is more important. And it's pretty obvious. My real self. That is the one which I protect. Why did I make my Microbyte self? To protect my real self. My real self is the one that does most of the fun stuff anyway. He races. He celebrates Christmas with family. He meets friends in real life. If he gets damaged, that means bad stuff.

Now, what happens when people communicate over the Internet? A series of abstractions, one over another, all abstracting each other. Sure that happens in real life. But in real life, those abstractions are less abstract, you have a bunch more ways of communicating. And social media and online interactions in general tend to be more abstract, more lossy, due to the medium. Now, when those abstractions pile up, you start to get what I view as damage. People then talk online, and more specifically over social media, with their real life personalities, their real persons. Then, when the abstractions pile up, they get damaged.

People are getting damaged from online communications.

Now, I do also feel the need to clarify that by damage I don't necessarily mean actually being injured, but getting mental issues and just confused in general, falling prey to psyops, that sort of thing is what I count as being injured.

I would also like to clarify the difference between talking online in social media versus talking in forums or a chat. And that is that, on large social media, everything is drowned out, compacted, an endless stream, which, even without technical limits causes more compactness, which causes more abstractions. Meanwhile, forums tend to lend themselves to more long-form communications. And to compound on that previous point, on social media a true conversation is nearly impossible, always getting drowned out. (This isn't a criticism of social media itself)

Now I would like to address the benefits of online communications, which are primarily that interesting people can be found and talked to, but that latter half, the half that makes social networks any better than a blog with a bunch of random distractions, is hard to achieve for anyone that is popular. Additionally, while finding information through those may be fairly easy, it is, as I mentioned a sentence or two ago, just a blog with a lot of distractions, which tends to regress to the mean.

I would also like to defend things like email just real quick, and my quick defense, which isn't all that complicated is that email = good because email is more personal, less subject to people trying to abstract stuff, and lends itself to interesting conversations. Simply talking over the internet isn't that bad, but when it truly impacts you more than the same conversation in real life would have it gets bad. For the purposes of the previous sentence, getting flooded with one thing or a few things does count.

I would also like to point out how this abstraction has injured our society as a whole (when I say our society, I am primarily referring to Western America-Centric society, as I am an American). Due to the presence of social media and digital communications as the main method of syndication of all types of information, that abstracted mess, which I have previously criticized, has now became the center of our culture and society. Now ask yourself, hearing all this, is it good to be based around that? I personally believe that it, most definitely, is not. Our media, our news, our shows, our movies, our discourse, are real life interactions, have all became an Ouroboros, eating the abstractedness of online disco(u)r[d](se) and then creating media, which then becomes the center of said disco(u)r[d](se). This is, needless to say, no bueno. People become, have became, walking NPCs, all hung up on what they just ate from the tail.

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