My first Find Your Eye class of the year starts Sunday, and I’m so ready! It’s a full class, and the Flickr group is open and everyone is starting to introduce themselves. It’s so exciting to begin the process of connecting.
I was pondering how connection happens this morning, especially in the online world. It certainly takes effort on both parts, yours and mine, for us to connect. It’s not like in the “real” world, where circumstances could put us together in work or social environments, to help that connection along. We have to choose to be here. That’s the first step, but it’s not enough is it?
There has to be something more, to make a connection. There has to be an human, or emotional, sharing and response. If you visit a website, and get factual or useful information, do you feel a connection? I don’t. If there’s no personality involved, no sharing of self, there is no connection for me. Connection starts to happen when one person shares a little bit of themselves, along with whatever info they are sharing. It could be the sense of humor that comes through in their words, or a little about their lives or personal philosophy. Whatever that special something is, it’s important to start the connection.
That’s important to me, maybe because it’s what I do here every day, share bits and pieces of me through my photos and words. Today I share this window in Bologna: Partially hidden, partially revealed by the vines, but completely blocked off to light. I wonder, why is the window hidden and blocked off? Isn’t the point of a window to let in light, and air? This image makes me feel somewhat sad, and anxious. What windows do I still have inside me, hidden and blocked off like this? I know they are there, I stumble across them from time to time. Perhaps that’s why I’m anxious, worried about what window I will need to open next. It’s always hard to open a blocked window within our soul.
So I share, and I learn something about myself in the process. The next part of connection is up to you. It’s how you respond. Not everyone will feel a response to what I write, the images I share. For some, they will take away only the factual and useful information. Others will have a response, an emotional connection, with what I’ve shared. You may see yourself reflected in my words. You may see things entirely differently. Either way, that’s where the connection begins to happen in online interactions. One shares, the other feels. The recipient feels connected.
Connection is deepened, the cycle of connection is completed, when there is a response. That could be a comment, an email, an interaction that somehow closes the loop. It could even be signing up for a newsletter or a class. Something that tells me, the person who originally shared, the message was received. And valued. It’s weird sometimes in the online world, because there is the potential to connect with so many people by putting information out there, but you don’t always know who and where it’s being received. You only see numbers. I greatly value the connection I have with those of you who respond, even once in a while to say, “Message received.” It turns the numbers into real people, real connections.
Regular interaction over time, sharing a little bit of the “self” from both parties, becomes a real two-way connection. As real as any connections I make face-to-face, maybe even deeper, because with these interactions we’ve connected on something very, very important to me. Likely, to both of us.
That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? The connections. Of ourselves to the moment, and to the world around us. Our connections to other people.
What do you think? What does it take for you to feel a connection in the online world, and make a connection back? Close the connection and let us all know what it takes for you.