Ben Is Insensitive and Like a Machine

That’s what I was told today standing around with people at school much smarter than I who were deconstructing some amazing art/photography students had done. A couple people had come up to me and said they had stumbled across my blog, so using that as a segue, we dived into a conversation about blogging and the new-teen-phenomenon social networking web site MySpace.

People were commenting about how weird it is to exchange emails or IMs were someone and then walk by them the next day in the hall and not say a word. In other words, was blogging and the internet creating people who only knew how to communicate behind a screen?

As I defended the medium a bit (hey, someone has to) it came out: “But Ben, I don’t want to read your blog. I want to talk to you in person. You’re a machine!” The same person also called me insensitive. Now, I have a nice friendship with this person but we would both admit that it could be much stronger. A very close (male?) friend I don’t think would ever say something like that. And herein lies the great challenge for me as I navigate the high school waters with interests and friends which largely exist outside the walls of my school: building strong relationships with people @ school requires time. I don’t have much spare energy. So I am resigned to having friends at school who share mutual activities, like basketball, or who are so awesome where I make an extraordinary effort to reach out to them (rare). For the others, who are all super smart and beautiful, I am stuck with the label of being a crazy-busy machine. The trade off is definitely worth it, but it makes me take a big, deep sigh.

6 comments on “Ben Is Insensitive and Like a Machine
  • Ben ,
    your blogg proves my point!! Instead of telling me what was on your blogg i came upstairs to read it! This coming from a guy that preaches efficiency?? If you show up at a party, people should have real convos rather than summerizing a blogg. If you talk to someone in person you save them a trip upstairs to read your blogg where an alarming number of teenagers are wasteing their communications skills.

  • Ben I thoroughly enjoyed just seeing you in a social setting last night. I think you have to be open to the chance three minute worthwhile conversation that may arise from a room of drunken teenagers, even if it is just that. They do happen. I found you more approachable yesterday than I have for almost a year. I know you’re smart, but I think your reasoning for removing yourself from many mainstream teenage activities goes beyond that. You have an incredible understanding of the system, the social ladder, the code of conduct. Therefore, you feel too removed to let yourself be too involved. I think this is why you “network” your thoughts and ideas through this blog. But you have to trust me: you are not the only one who gets it. I get it perfectly well, yet I remain a part of it all. I have myspace, yes. I go out two times a weekend. It doesn’t make me any less smart, in my opinion. There is a balance that can be obtained. To understand a system and all its intr icate, often ugly features but take part in it, knowing that they exist, is possible. And you can even learn something from it. If you want me to analyze you some more, it can be arranged, but only in person. Personal, face to face communication. Get into it. ––d. cortez (otherwise known as the namecalling girl with whom you have a “nice friendship that could be stronger”)

  • There is a certain magic to face-to-face interaction. Think of how many times you’ve had a discussion go awry if it took place solely via email, or even IM. We convey a lot with body language, tone of voice, and a whole host of other things.

    My strategy for getting to know people is to connect with them face-to-face at least once. Once you’ve had a chance to spend some time together, even if it’s only a single lunch, there is a shared experience that makes it easier for you to communicate electronically.

    Of course, technology is great for getting to know new people, and it provides tremendous leverage by allowing you to project yourself to hundreds or even thousands of people, but you should still try to meet face to face once in a while.

  • “I am stuck with the label of being a crazy-busy machine.”

    Don’t ever apologies for it!
    In 10 years, when they will look back, they will see this completely different.

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