The Internet is awesome. I can meet people from across the world, chat with them far more often than I do with my next door neighbor about any topic under the sun. If I have any question about any project I’m working on, there is someone online who can and is willing to offer suggestions.
With everything available at our fingertips, it can be easy to forget about our “first life” or “real life” or whatever you would prefer to call the space that we have face-to-face conversation and interaction with people in the flesh.
Last night, I was reminded of the importance of physical community. I attended a meetup for WordPress. WordPress is the content management system behind Austin Catholic New Media, my personal site and a few others that I manage. Until now, I’ve resisted it. The topics might sound interesting, but with all of the resources online, why waste my time?
Truth me told, even if I could gain more information online, being in a room with 50 other people right here in Austin who are talking about this particular issue has value in and of itself. Yes, the “networking” aspect of it has value, but more so, the connection formed through this direct physical engagement has value.
Without dusting off my sociology texts to cite theoretical examples, the commercial conveys the same point:
(If the video is giving you problems, see the commercial directly on YouTube).
The human touch is an important part of our faith. God had messaged us “virtually” before. The burning bush was like an audio chat with a fun visualization, right? But, God through the incarnation of Christ came to us in the truest of physical forms. While we can learn much virtually, through books or more modern means, we can not sacrifice true presence as an old, out-dated model of expression.
No, the WordPress Meetup was not on par with the incarnation of Christ. But, while I have interacted with many of the folks online already, being able to interact with them in the flesh brought a new—and needed—dimension to the relationship.