Monday, April 20, 2009

Relationship Informatics

I read a blog today. It was the first personal blog of someone I know. It was a really good blog about relationships 'these days'. I read it and ended up thinking about the way our world is today and how it effects dating in this generation of information. When I meet people within a few hours I could know more about that person then I could learn in several conversations with them. Now this information is different then what is shared in real human interaction and is no substitute for 'getting to know someone', but it does have advantages and disadvantages to the relationship and the act of building that relationship.

I have said it before and I will say it many more times before I die, I am a geek. I know I am and I embrace it. I use technology to constantly stay in touch with the entire world, which includes those I have relationships with. Friends, girlfriends, family, acquaintances, and even my enemies are part of this. This idea that I have access to everything a person shares on the internet leaves me knowing more raw data then others but still leaves me in the dark about the person. I may know where you grew up, where you have lived since, where you work and for how long, who your friends are, where you like to hang out, I may even know your thoughts and feelings from blogs like this one, but in the end I don't know you. This is something I know increases the struggle in todays world of dating and friendship. At the same time, knowing things about someone could help people that aren't as good in social situations. It gives them background to start conversations that they would have never thought of on there own. It also allows people to meet first in this virtual world allowing them to 'break the ice' in a more comfortable environment for them and then move in to real world situations after they are comfortable with that person. Everything effects us in this world of relationships. Information technology is just one more complexity in the relationship game.

This world we live in today is nothing like what our parents lived with and in my case even what my older brothers and sisters lived in. I live a very different type of lifestyle then anyone in my family. My life is integrated with the technology around me. My life doesn't exist without technology and many of my relationships and friendships wouldn't be the same without it. There are limits that we each must place on the technology we use. There are technologies out there that allow us to track those people we know. I broadcast my GPS location everyday all day but others limit this information to only the city they are in. We each have a choice in how we use technology and how we apply it to our lives.

With technology changing at the rate it is now my lifestyle will change drastically in the next few years. New items will be invented and more information will be available to us though faster more direct means. Relationships and friendships will change with them. None of us will know exactly what dating will be like in the days to come. It will take each of us to work though this on our own. Who knows we may need IT guys for relationships in the future!!!