YellowYeti wrote:200 years ago the missus would have been spending hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who lived locally while I was in the pub. Today, she spends hours at a time chatting to her mother/sister who live 1000 miles away while I am in the pub.
orthogon wrote:This, this, and thrice this! Even within the same large city I don't see my best friends as much as I'd like, and my wider group even less, if at all. Facebook makes me feel like I bump into them every day, just like I would have done in a village.
Wasn't all that long ago that a newlywed couple would pack their few belongings onto a horse-drawn wagon, head west to find a suitable spot for a homestead, and never see or communicate with their family/friends again.
Today, I know what darn near every high school acquaintance is doing darn near including what's for breakfast.
Yes, but surely this was a heartbreaking experience for them and those they left behind, and something you only did once in a lifetime; and even then you would form a new social network of people that you did
see every day. Is it that we suffer an ongoing tension caused by the feeling that in principle we could and should see these people more, after all it's only an hour each way or whatever, rather than just giving up on them; and we don't befriend our neighbours because why should we arbitrarily hang out with people who happen to live nearby, and we end up with the worst of both worlds?
The problem as I see it is that transport hasn't
kept pace with the exponential change in everything else - affordable transport is at best a few percent faster than it was in 1900 (see also : Bill Gates vs GM
). We seem to be (I hope) emerging from some kind of nadir in which our average "distance" from the people we love is a maximum. Faster transport doesn't look likely any time soon, but hopefully online social networks as we know them today are just the beginning of something way better, involving virtual and augmented reality, super high definition, etc, which really will reduce the need for travel. Maybe Google+ is already halfway there - I wouldn't know.