So the blog post title is aimed for the cheap reaction (“no, don’t go there”).
But it is true, I had breakfast today. And it was a chance to meet someone whom I’ve corresponded through mostly blog comments, going back to August, another runner who had found my sad tale of marathon attemptage. So we talked running, and life in other countries, and digital cameras. As it turns out, he was just back from Panama and headed soon back to South America.
“Oh, I was just reading about the big canal project in Panama,” I said, knowing he did writing for the engineering trades.
“Did you read that in Wired?” he asked.
“Yes, I did.”
“Well I wrote that story.” And it is true.
But back to the point of my silly cheap post title. There is so much fear flying about internet behavior. Yes, there are real predators, and naive kids you get exploited. It is not chicken feed, not trivial.
On the other hand, I firmly believe that the numbers of times people create meaningful, positive connections via the net far outweighs, by orders of magnitude, the horror stories of net predation that scream from tabloids, TV junk news, and every newspaper. Yet good stories are not news.
I’ve been making connections like this all my career. My 4 months of travel to Australia and New Zealand in 2000 were stops at people’s homes and schools generated just from my email request to visit. Even farther back in the mid 1990s, I posted a message on a multimedia developers listserv that I was traveling to the northwest to visit colleges, and a nice chap from Eugene offered to set up a visit at Lane Community College. We later laughed that we had not even communicated by anything but email until I knocked on his door. That was more than 15 years ago, and Tim is one of my closer friends now.
What might happen if trust evaporates? What kinds of world is that?
So my pithy thought today, riffing off of glass house dwellers and their throwing habits, was that people who live in houses built of Fear don’t throw Hope. Or Trust. Or Opportunity.
The post "I Had Breakfast Today With a Guy I Met on the Internet" was originally pushed out of the bottom of a purple jar of Play-Doh at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2007/03/breakfast/) on March 5, 2007.