Sips and Gulps, Digital Style

I’ve been preparing for my unit on Digital Media and how it affects our critical thinking, as that’s my students’ next paper.  I’ve read a ton of articles, and read a lot about how relationships formed via the digital medium are different than those formed in person.

This has been on my mind because this week I’m headed to QuiltCon with my friend Leisa (our relationship formed in person).  I will be meeting lots of “digital” friends — not that THEY are digital — but that our friendships were formed in  bits and bytes of media exchanges, over Instagram, emails, blogs and Flickr.


In one part of the excellent video above, Turkle recounts being asked if all these little “sips” of interaction ever added up to a big gulp?  She thought not.  This has gotten me thinking about how we conduct our quilt conversations over the internet.  I have some “sips” that have been converted into gulps. I talk often with Betty in Virginia, Cindy in Fresno, and Anne in Colorado and all were started by comments left on blogs, or by being together in an online group.  I have others I converse with less, but still we have made the jump to real time, and gotten past the awkward moments.  However the truth of it is that some sips can’t always convert to gulps.

I’ve put together a couple of meet-and-greets at QuiltCon.  The first one I organized gave me a stomachache for a day, as I was so nervous and scared about making that jump.  But we found a time to meet, to see each other, and I’ll just see what happens. It’s part of our culture, I think, that instead of names exchanged across a stamped-letter distance, creating a pen-pal relationship, we now form those loose ties over photos and quips and blogs and Facebook pages.  Whether or not these sips will translate into gulps remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to seeing if they can.

13 thoughts on “Sips and Gulps, Digital Style

  1. Over the past few years, many of my bloggy friends and I have done the ‘real meet-ups’ and it’s been a total blessing. BUT, realistically, one can only expand their circle of friends just so far! It’s ok that I don’t call these gals but visit with them on their/my blog while awaiting that next opportunity to do the ‘real’ meet-up once again. Sometimes it’s a case of “too much of a good thing” (having such a large circle of friends) that we get stretched way too thin and add stress (that we put on ourselves thru some definition of guilt???) to an already busy life. I treasure all those who have taken their precious time to leave comments on my blog but I also realize that they are part of a separate “world” that’s virtually real(!) but must remain separate (for the most part) because I don’t have enough hours in a day to bring them any closer…………..but it’s really ok to leave it at that!!!!!!!

  2. I’ve had a mixed experience with online friends. One experience went from fast friendship to something I long to forget. Oh yes, the day I don’t think about that or the repercussions at all will be a good day. OTOH, I have made a couple of good friends online, people I count as very dear to me. But due to my bad experience, I do not seek out friends online now. We can be friendly acquaintances, and if by chance over time and familiarity, we count ourselves as true friends, my life will be richer still.

    Enjoy your party and meeting so many new people. I predict you will find friendship from it, but not necessarily where you predict.

  3. I have met a couple of blogging friends and it has .been a great experience. I like how you relate it to the Big Gulp.

    I.m sure you will have an amazing time at Quilt Con and look forward to hearing all about it.

  4. Thank you for sharing that incredible TED talk. I’ve sent it on to many because there is so much to think about, particularly those insidious small changes that can occur in each of us and in our relationships without our noticing.

  5. A word of caution (perhaps having its roots in jealousy that I won’t be in Houston). Don’t concentrate so hard on taking Big Gulps that you spend all of your time in the Ladies’ Room! Have a wonderful time. I look forward to enjoying it vicariously.

  6. I love that Ted talk and am actually using it in my class today! Great minds think alike. Have fun making all kinds of connections at QuiltCon–the fabric kind and the people kind–and let’s have a sushi therapy session when you come home so that I can hear about it!

  7. Ok Elizabeth . . . I wasn’t very nervous about QuiltCon until now. Just kidding. I’m making a leaf of faith, but I feel like I’m going to QuiltCon to meet up with old friends even though I’ve never met them in person. Maybe I should be more anxious than I am and if I think about it too much I will get nervous. Ready or not here I come. See you tomorrow!!!! : )

  8. I’m so glad you are an organizer type! I love social things but hate the planning and rounding up of everyone, so I love being friends with those who have that as a strength! See you soon 🙂

  9. I would love to be a fly on the wall for your class discussions and read over your shoulder as you read their papers. I will admit to skepticism as I listened, It’s not that bad; does this resemble complaints as other technologies (like the printing press, the telephone)were introduced? And then to skepticism of my own reaction. Is my experience different because I had a life before current technology?

    1. And I will also observe that F2F I’d not have been able to get to the double reaction–F2F can’t handle the pauses while we listen to what we said and re-evaluate it. Sometimes, but not always, a good listener can challenge our thinking and lead to re-evaluation, though.

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