Posted by Joanchek on Friday, December 5, 2008
We make friends online. Real friends. People that we care for, and meet face to face, and who become important parts of our lives. But because our primary form of contact is electronic, we are not always as in touch as we should be.
My friend J is a riot. She's a vital and dynamic 60-something who I met online some 12 years ago. She's become a close friend, but she lives 250 miles away in a major city. She is a single woman with no children, and no family close by to speak of. She's one of the best storytellers I know, and her career path has taken her to some fascinating places. We see each other in person a couple of times of year, and chat on the phone now and then, but our usual form of communication is email, instant message, or in our trivia chatroom. Last Saturday, she emailed saying she thought she had pulled a muscle and wasn't getting around well. I called Monday to see how she was doing and got her machine. Same Tuesday. Through an odd set of events, I found out Thursday that her appendix had ruptured Sunday and she was in the hospital recovering from surgery.
I've called a couple of times; she's had complications but is finally on the mend and should be discharged on Monday. And that's good news. But I realized that we need to have a better way to get word out when one of us is sick, or in need of help or support. Online relationships are wonderful, but it's not always as easy as it should be to keep in close touch. We should not have to rely on serendipity to find out a friend is in need. My intuition told me something was wrong, but I had no idea how to go about figuring out what was up.
We'll figure something out. New technologies mean new ways of doing even the most ordinary things.
Saturday, December 6, 2008 @6:15:48 AM
My business partner is all a-twitter about twitter...ANOTHER new "keep in touch with friends" social networking system. But you still need to establish (with your friends) that ALL technologies should also be used as an early warning system (to health, weather, banjo sales, yadayada). It's been my experience that, unless you intentionally go there, discussions of "what to do in case of bad health" just don't happen.
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