In our twenty-first century world, people connect as much over text and Facebook messages as face-to-face, or even phone calls. Even email has become “last decade”. But whatever the technological caliber our society as ascended to, one thing has not changed: our need to connect intimately. But often times, this happens only when we let it happen. Facebook has become a quick update place, and forum boards lack the kind of open-ended relational purpose a person longs for in discussion.
But could there be a place online where people can gather together, with quiet, secure rooms for more sensitive discussion, while having a lobby with more general? The difficulty here is these kinds of websites usually don’t catch in the way certain social media giants of the past have. Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, ICQ, have all connected people in ways other internet tools never could. They made communication easy. This is great, but there are topics (and levels of intimacy) that won’t naturally be hit in these atmospheres.
The tendency is to reserve these kinds of discussions for over-the-phone or face-to-face discussion. But there may actually be some benefits to putting a virtual gathering site online.
Ease of Access
It has been my experience that going out to interact with good friends is important, but I have actually just been wiped out after a long day of work, and don’t have the energy to change clothes, and shift into social mode physically. A place to meet virtually would remove the intimidating commute, without losing the same level of connection.
One of the beautiful things about forum threads is they stay where they are put. Of course, that certainly may not be ideal for some discussions, and should be backed up locally, but for many, there is a place to pick up a previous discussion.
There has been a recognized trend these days to do more moving then in generations passed. It has been called “Urbanization”. It proposes that more people are moving into cities than ever before. While this appears to be very exciting, it actually seems to have had the opposite effect. People are not “geographically closer together, but socially further apart. It takes something external to bind us into any kind of relationship, but work, for example, tends to be an external requirement more then a joy anymore. The tendency towards what returning to what happens outside of work is much more clear: Television, Video games, or externally structured events like a church youth group or Bible study group. But in all of these situations, there is not really the kind of openness for any great level of intimacy between people. The “informal” moments have to be “caught” intentionally. What if there were a place where people could gather for just these “informal relational moments, from the convenience of a web browser?
As a means of keeping this place safe, only those who have entered into the Lobby will know who is specifically present. Certain terms will have to be agreed to in order to keep people safe.
Once in the Lobby, people will be able jump right into conversation with people who have real faces next to their text! There would be no automated responses, but communication ought to come from real people. Certain individuals would need to be present to moderate the general structure of the lobby.
Those in the Lobby would be able to connect with several individuals for more intimate conversation. They would disappear from the roster on the Front entrance completely, and only their corner would be acknowledged in the Lobby. These kinds of conversations require a large amount of trust to bear the deep information of life. The greatest of online security would be utilized here to ensure that people are protected, and feel safe.
There is a intrinsic need in our lives to “bear our souls”. There is now no reason not to be releasing those things on your heart and be free of the pressure.