The Call and Horton are imaginary, but the message is real

Posted by PartyWeDo on Friday, February 12, 2010


hortonWe all love an imaginary story. We read them to our children and we watch them on the big or small screen. Most of these stories have some basis in reality, allowing us to use them for our personal lives.

There are two imaginary stories which caught my attention this week. One was a reminder of the Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hears a Who and the other was a song by Matt Kennon that introduces a suicidal man and a pregnant teen, both at a moment of personal despair.

Wow…A Dr. Seuss and suicide combo? OK, here is where I am going with this…

We all live with real people and with real issues, but the virtual world of Facebook and My Space have created a connection with people that is somewhere between imaginary and real.

We continue to suggest that we should have more REAL within our internet connections.

Many of the new internet tools have us living somewhere in the imaginary world of connection, not really knowing those we list as “Friends”. In these sites we may never have any actual contact with the people with whom we interact, we just type, read and see a profile picture.

Jesse Stay dedicated a post to this subject as he discussed the real connections and imaginary contacts of Facebook and Buzz. He used Horton’s story of the Who to illustrate his point.

This got me thinking about why I am on Facebook and why I use other web tools. Facebook is mostly my virtual gathering place for staying close to the real people in my life.

Our party network on Facebook is dedicated to building virtual events for real people, to provide real support for them. We reject the idea that virtual gifts and imaginary support can take the place of things that are real.

Let’s illustrate the reality of human support with this song (listen to the words of these imaginary stories and see the value of real support)

The lyrics give an example of what real people deal with, but most importantly they demonstrate that someone who cares can make a real difference, even when reaching out through technology (a cell phone). A real friend, inviting someone to a worthwhile event or making a personal family commitment, can offer real support to others. We don’t need so much virtual fluff, but we do need real support between our family and our friends.

An imaginary story can point toward reality, but it is the real people who give support to those they love, even when using tools like phones, keyboards and Facebook.

Sending virtual flowers or teddy bears to our casual internet contacts will never have the same impact as gathering our real friends together and offering some real support.

Facebook will never take the place of our personal interactions, but it does a pretty good job of mimicking the gathering and the support process. It’s value increases when our family and friends live a distance from us and we desire to give them some regular support.

We suggest that activities hosted on Facebook are more supportive when they mimic that which is real and rather than the just the imaginary.

What are you doing that is real?

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