Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fake people

These are funny times we live in. People have the potential to be so connected, be it through texting, social networking sites, e-mail, phone calls, video conferences. I've video conferenced with people halfway across the world and e-mailed with the same. Thanks to Facebook and (when I had one) Myspace, I've kept in touch with people I probably would've lost touch with. I don't text (it's not in my plan, folks, and it costs me when I accept the occasional message!), but I do keep in touch by phone. A scant handful of people have my blog URL(s).

About the only medium I haven't dabbled much in is IMing or chatting. Why? Dunno, it just hasn't been a priority. I only recently got an AIM screen name and have actually been using it (well, leaving it signed in, anyway). My buddy list isn't very long, and I only catch friends online occasionally.

Today I was logged in via Gmail's chat and noticed a "friend" online. I didn't recall adding this person, this GossipinGabby person. I don't know any Gabbys or Abbys or even anyone whose names were remotely similar or for that matter people who would take it as a point of pride to be gossipy. I logged into the AIM program, see if they had a profile.

GossipinGabby appeared under the tab titled "ChatBots." Could've sworn I deleted all those from my buddy list. They're not people. Why would I want to "chat" with a computer? For that matter, who would? Are people so lonely they'd rather chat with a fake person than be online without talking to anybody? Or are they so plugged in they're not going out and actually interacting with real people?

I say this as someone who has a tendency to hide from life behind a computer screen; I admit it. But I'm not stooping to consorting with fake personae in an effort to delude myself into thinking I have a social life. If my friends are offline, it's because they have lives. I should be doing the same, not chatting with an online program about the latest celebrity gossip.

It's scary how lonely this generation seems in an age where connection is little more than a mouseclick away.

Now playing: Owen - Declaration of Incompetence
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Shay said...

Many, many years ago I remember reading a sci-fi short story about an automated answering machine/robot that methodically targetted lonely young men and drove them to murder and suicide.

And this was at least five years before the Internet was even a blip on the Pentagon's radar screen.