Monthly Archives: February 2011

Friendship in the Digital Age

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since I began my journey into the social media universe. It all began with this blog, followed by freelance writing for other online publications, and then twitter, Facebook, Four Square, Gowalla etc. Back in the early days, I didn’t even own a cell phone. Now, if I ever forget my Nexus One at home I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself.

 This has been a whole lot of change in a very short period of time, which has been absorbed with remarkable fluidity into all aspects of my life. As my digital footprint grows daily, I think it’s important to remember what drove me to these platforms in the first place and to use this to motivate me to keep exploring.

 Like many of you, I began reading blogs as a way to kill time during slow periods at work. I then began to participate by commenting on these blogs. I quickly realized, that if I enjoyed these online conversations, I would also enjoy starting some of my own and the Many Faces of Wayne was born.

While the shine has worn off of blogging for me a little (I’m sure many of you can relate) and I now find myself reading, commenting on, and writing fewer and fewer blog posts I was very fortunate to have some very positive experiences early on.

 The most significant of these experiences was becoming friends with Kara (otherwise known as the Post-Fab Princess). My friendship with Kara is unique. She has provided me with creative feedback, emotional support, romantic advice, and fashion tips. We’ve had many long conversations, about feminism, TV shows and films. Both of us have also shared work related trauma and celebrated each other’s successes. We even had drinks together over the Christmas holidays. Kara enjoyed an eggnog martini while I had the Places of Wayne signature martini: the famous “swimming pool drink.”

What makes our friendship different/special is that, in spite of all these very real social interactions, I’ve never heard Kara’s voice. In fact, prior to my acceptance of social media, I would have argued that we hadn’t actually met at all, since we have never been physically in the same room (I now know better.)

 Our friendship began in the blogosphere, through a mutual friend, and because of his blogroll, we began to read and comment on each others blogs. After a few months, this progressed into emails and eventually text messages. It was really the texting that was the game changer because it frequently moved these text based conversations into real-time conversations. This created an immediacy that enabled a unique friendship to develop that I don’t think would have been possible in a prior time.

 It’s true that most humans have always desired social interaction/connection and created tools to facilitate it. Letters have been around for centuries and the telegraph/telephone of the 20th century irrevocably altered the way people communicated with each other. My friendship with Kara shares this basic premise but the tools are different, which changes the experience. We communicate strictly through the written word, but now this can have the same immediacy as a telephone/or real-time conversation. That’s a brand new phenomenon! The positive is that both extraverts (because of the immediacy) and the introvert (because of the introspection that comes from writing) can both get the rewards from social interaction they are looking for.

 My friendship with Kara has endured, but both our blogging has been substantially reduced. Kara has shutdown her blog (Pudding and the Post-fab Princess) and these days I struggle to produce a blog post a month. Yet, I am thankful that my foray into this new digital world allowed me to make a new friend. I can’t think of a better measurement of success than that.

Anyone else out there have a similar story? 

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Undercurrents

Congratulations to Pat Gauthier and the Undercurrents team for putting on a solid independent theatre festival at the Irving Greenberg Theatre (GCTC). So far, I’ve seen Bifurcate Me and Hard Ways and both shows impressed me. The festival itself has very much a Fringe Festival feel to it. All the shows are original creations and many companies are based in Ottawa. The tickets are fantastic value at $15 a pop and 3 and 6 show passes are available for substantial savings off the regular ticket price. The festival ends Feb. 6, so call the GCTC Box Office (613-236-5196) now if you want to score some tickets for the remaining shows.

The next show on my list to see is: This is a Recording. This show, created and performed by Kelly Rigole and Simon Bradshaw, was my favourite 2009 Ottawa Fringe Festival production. I’m really looking forward to seeing it again to see how it has evolved.

There has been a need for this kind of independent theatre festival in Ottawa for a long time. Aside from the Fringe, and the Cube Salons, (both of which are great) there really hasn’t been an easy way for audiences to see a lot of independent work in a short period of time.  I believe that is why the Undercurrents festival has been embraced so heartily by local audiences. There is something exciting about seeing original work created by local artists.

In fact, both shows I’ve attended had sold out crowds. That kind of audience support is fantastic to see. I hope this festival becomes a regular feature of the Ottawa theatre scene and that the GCTC will sponsor even more independent theatre productions in the future. This one is a winner folks. Catch it while you can.