Re: virus: e-mail communication
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 16:16:15 EST

In a message dated 2/26/99 12:05:37 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Personally, I don't like Reed's new style. Far too much fluff. In my opinion, if you've got a message, you say it. Stories are fine in their place, but I thought this was a place of learning? Maybe I'm just too used to engineering lectures, where it's all spelled out.

But really, if you claim that "the medium is the message", I think you'll see that this black and white text, being just two-dimensional, cannot support "real people". Although I am amazed at the depth that can be inserted into two-d, I also know that such depth doesn't come without a lot of hard work. >>

Certainly a fair amount of depth can be put into this, but most depth is ultimately an illusion. I don't take it too seriously. That's part of the reason that I am willing to push the envelope sometimes, whereas in IRL, I am actually much different from a lot of the impressions that people form of me. I most emphatically do not "share myself" here. Perhaps if someone were to watch my postings over a long expanse of time, they might be able to draw some somewhat accurate conjectures about me as a person, but I don't think that it is genuinely possible through a short series, which is about all that most people pay attention to anyway. Over the short run, I may appear anything from completely flat to wildly erratic, depending on what I am trying to get out of a particular interaction.

I am with you on this. I view it as mostly a mental realm, and leave my emotions somewhat obscurred. But I do assume that other people have emotions, and so my message gets tailored for that. In a list situtation like this however, the message is not always tailored exclusively to the expressed recipient. There is a considerable audience out there that is reading as well, with varying degrees of attention. I try to keep them in mind as well, and I think that is mostly where I try to make my generalized emotional speculations.

Reed has been an intersting case on here. I myself strive for emotional modesty in cyberspace. I don't like to let it all hang out like that. But I am willing to try new things in response to people who do.

>>If the first assertion of my last paragraph is correct, does that doom
our Church of Virus?<<

I don't think that this medium supports "real people" in any healthy emotional way. But as a forum to supplement our real lives, I think it provides a lot of intellectual vitality where it would be otherwise hard to get much of it, except perhaps in a large university environment.


Reed, Zloduska, Jake and interested others,

A while back on this list, John Williams asked a question about the nature of e-mail communication, about it's special dynamic, the ebbs and flows that we are all so familiar with. It didn't get to much response, if I recall (talking about talking is not high on anyone's list, Tim), but I certainly feel the question is relevant to Reed's recient discussion of various posting styles.<<

While it is possible to create some depth, I don't take it to be real. I do however enjoy experimenting with it. While I don't share very much in terms of personal details, I do try to express some of my values through it.

I read Bill's message about how technology will make this all much more "real". Actually to some extent I like it the way that it is. The fact that my first repsonse doesn't always get transmitted, that I have greater editing power over my messages, and that I can more easily obscure personal aspects about myself, give me a sense of freedom and escape, as "unreal" as it may be. The fact that this requires that everything be put in written form has also forced me to be more thoughtful about my use of words.