I didn’t mean for it to happen. It started so innocently. A person I follow on Twitter, retweets something someone else said that was clever and/or entertaining (clever things usually are entertaining so I’m not sure why I felt a need to add that extraneous bit of information) and I check out that new person’s Twitter feed to see if she was consistent in her clever entertainment. She was so I followed her to get a front row seat. No big deal, right?
Then one day I was on a dating site, browsing through profiles and I saw a familiar name. I clicked, because I’m a curious person. I felt bad though, but shrugged it off. It was all public information, right?
Then she tweeted a link relating to running. I run. I like running apps. The link however showed her running route and I realized she was my neighbor. Not ‘in my neighborhood’ but literally next door. Not literally, I don’t know why I said that. Three doors away.
Now I know a lot about someone I may run into on the street and this person doesn’t know that I know and doesn’t know anything about me. I didn’t mean to be a stalker.
Clearly a modern problem.
Our technology enables us to know so much about other people without actually knowing them. As an introvert who finds interacting with others equivalent to shoving my hand in a campfire, I gravitate to these mediums that allow for passive people perusing. So much is lost, though. What we learn from blogs, twitter feeds, running maps, and Foursquare check-ins doesn’t even come close to who the whole person actually is.
Yet, what are real life apps that enable real life connections?
Virtual connections are so easy. A click of a button allows me to know so much about a person. It would probably take several hours of conversation all the while trying to be witty, not spill wine, not accidentally speak with a full mouth spewing ginger beef onto the table. So much work, so much risk of rejection, of judgment, of wasted time.
At the end of the day, though, it will be less weird to have had that awkward two hours than to be standing in line at a coffeeshop behind someone that you know so much about but having never said a word to.