Friday, April 13, 2007

Not So Impersonal After All

Perhaps it's a coincidence, perhaps not, but within 36 hours of writing this, I got my first request for a complete Suit Yourself essay via my website. Talk about your instant gratification! I'm especially tickled that this particular race was won by a terrific person from my favorite of the places I worked during my business career - and someone I hadn't been in touch with for years. She was actually alerted to my goings-on by another colleague and friend from those days who ran across my website while online one afternoon.

Despite my persistent suspicion that cyberspace is the personal connectivity equivalent of a black hole, sucking in emails, personal contact, responsiveness and even proper grammar and diction like so much space debris, apparently a website has the ability to reach someone - several someones, actually - from one's past and prompt a reconnection where, in the normal course, one would in all likelihood never have occurred. I'm still appalled by the poorly conceived, written and presented "information" on too many websites, and by the total silence that greets use of too many of their brightly worded "Contact Us!" forms. I still have too many emails apparently barred by corporate firewalls that I have to decide whether to follow up on or just forget about. (Are they
really being screened by firewalls or is that just the excuse du jour for the unresponsive?) I still think the blizzard of emails blanketing the world smothers too much in the way of actual human interaction. Email is too easy to send without thinking first about whether you really need to communicate with each recipient. It's also too easy to ignore without feeling like the piece of garbage you'd feel like if a person actually spoke to you and you did the in-person equivalent of leaving the communication unacknowledged and unanswered.

But this whole reconnection experience is refreshing. That my website - my shadowy and easy-to-ignore cyberspace alter ego, if you will - has put me
back in touch with some people I like very much and have missed without even knowing I missed them has sweetened my souring attitude considerably.

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