Saturday, August 2, 2008

Virtual Places Replacing Physical Places

Perhaps children today don't walk or spend much time outside because they have the ability to create virtual places on line. As a baby boomer I've only just recently begun to explore the amazing collaborative world of Web 2.0, which today's kids take for granted. Last month, I joined Facebook and LinkedIn and was amazed at how I could customize my space on line to reflect my personality and interests. Similarly, this blog is allowing me to do the same.

With children scattered so far away from their schools and with highways dissecting communities, today's kids apparently are turning to community and individuality on line. On the surface, this kind of space seems a poor substitute to someone who grew up with the freedom to run around the countryside with friends on bikes and on foot. But the new technology allows me to stay in touch with a wide network of friends and get connected to the world around me in a way that I never dreamed possible.

What does it mean to us as human beings as we move away from physical space to virtual space? What are we leaving behind us and what amazing possibilities await us? (Marilyn Finnemore)

2 comments:

Les S said...

I like the notion of exploring the distinction between place and no place and wonder myself if as many things it's first and foremost a mental construct, much like a group or team that happens to also take on a physical dimension. And just because we ALSO engage in this virtual medium, it doesn't and can't become a replacement for the physical world in which we live but rather an extension of (and perhaps an even more creative one at that at times) in which we get to suspend if we are so inclined a bit of reality at times. With that, my thoughts connect the conversation to the one of "identity", where place becomes how I see/perceive/believe myself to be in relation to others (in both the physical as well as virtual world). But this is your journal, and this is just a brief foray in expressing my thinking as it initially connects to yours. Now my only concern is that someone else will see it and I can no longer remain invisible in this medium!

Marilyn said...

Interesting! Yes space, like everything, is a mental construct so what do our faceless suburbs say about our mental construct of self? Since the outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world, then our faceless places (whether physical or virtual) suggest a lack of identity. Any space (our homes, our neighborhoods, our blogs, our Facebook page) can be a creative space if it's being created by individuals who care and give themselves to it.