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Life Online in 2020


Living the dream
Quote from on article I was looking at on Vox:
"And if you had asked me 10 years ago whether that shift would build stronger communities around the culture I love, I would have said yes. Instead, the opposite seems to have happened. I feel more isolated online than ever, and I don’t know anybody who feels more connected to other people now than they did 10 years ago."

My Internet experience began before the web, in the late 1980's. I was sending files back and forth between our developers near the Paris Orly Airport to the company HQ in Huntsville, Alabama. Like any expatriates, as soon as the web became available through Compuserve, I jumped on it and spent time every day on our slow and metered connection. During that time, my wife and I made friends with another couple with whom we became very close. Although they came and went, as did we, we're still in touch. Later, I hired people to work at home on projects, and we socialized with one of them and his partner who lived in a different city in France. My two closest friends are not on social networks at all. One of them has a flip phone that barely can do texting.

I put the quote above to illustrate two things. The first is that my experience is in direct opposition with that quote and what it says. Part of the corroborating evidence is right here on the Café. All through my history of the past 25 years, I've met and grown close to new people, with shared interests. These interests have been tech or music-related for the most part. On the tech end, I have met dozens of those in person with whom I have communicated since 2005. We've met at conferences in European and American cities. We are still a true community, ironically, a community that shares an interest in Internet communication. Ironic, too, that we do not use one single tool or site or platform to communicate, but there is much activity going on many channels. I'm pleased to have gotten enormous enjoyment as well as valuable knowledge from this forum. Café Saxophone is very much like the wine forums we hung out on in the decade of the year 2000. There's a magic here that has avoided the feeling in that quote above. I'd like to congratulate Pete, Jeanette and the other mods, and all of you on your exemplary behavior, kindness and willingness to share your knowledge.

Finally, I'd like to point out that you are in control of the world online. You can choose who you read, who you engage with and what you say, if you think before you write. We create our experience online. People say that Twitter is a sewer, and yet, if you set up your account to 'follow' others whose interests you share, and cull those who tend to post toxicity, you have a worldwide chat that can become a community. Wine is again, a perfect example. Where else can you talk to the people who made a wine you like, ask questions, give feedback. We can talk about wine here amongst ourselves, but on social networks, we reach the people who make it, or those who sell it, or review it, as well as those who drink it. Two days ago, I connected with someone who has since downloaded and enjoyed my music. This is not easy to achieve in person, as playing live is extremely rare for me. While this is equally true of Facebook, the latter has too many mitigating factors to deal with. The single most egregious thing about FB is the manipulation of what you see.

Moving on to 2020, I foresee even more and better community activity on the Café Saxophone as new people (I'm fairly new!) come in to hopefully diversify our interests and experiences. I raise my glass to Pete and the others, and to you all!

Happy and Healthy New Year to you ALL!
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