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Real Life v Virtual Life

Original post made by Real Person, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2011

I used the self checkout at Home Depot recently. From leaving my car to choosing my goods and paying for them to the return to my car, I didn't speak to anyone or even look at a face.

The same happens at the library as I select my books at home and put them on hold, wait for the email, collect them from the hold shelf and self checkout, and return them to a book drop. I do my banking online or at a machine. I do shopping online and wait for things to be delivered and don't even have to sign for them.

My parents' generation when they were old used to make excuses to go to the Bank, the post office, or the library, just to speak to someone and see a friendly face. Getting out of the house to be connected with the real world made them feel alive, but no longer so. I even talk to my doctor by email!

As we age, interaction with other human beings is going to get harder and harder as technology does all the things that friendly people used to do for seniors. For many, Facebook is going to be the most dependable way to have a few friendly comments from someone we know on a daily basis.

It is sad to see that the real world will soon be overtaken by the virtual world and the virtual world will be full of the friendly faces we used to come into contact with everyday.

Comments (8)

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Posted by true
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

yes,it is very true that a person on internet is totally different from real,please look carefully and talk to her/him in real world.

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Posted by Sounds Familiar
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Aug 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

Didn't Asimov write a novel about this? Someone did, and I've had 30 or more years to think about it.

We don't have the social skills many had 100 years ago, such as bantering, flirting or even friendly arguing. Or working. Probably a bad thing.

And I think we now need to arrange our physical human interactions more explicitly, but that gives us more control over our lives. Probably a good thing.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Asimov, Heinlein and Bradbury, among others.

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm

America today is the result of 50+ years of liberal social engineering.

I, for one, am thankful that technology has provided methods to reduce the amount of interaction I must have with arrogant self-absorbed yuppies, and worthless incompetent service staff.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Outside. Got your crabby shorts on today?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by yeah
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I guess he wears dress today.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by move away
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm


if ya don't like our great state and great community full of thoughtful caring smart people, why don't you just move away to where you will find like minded haters?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

When I was born, California had the best schools, the best public infrastructure, low taxes, low crime and low population density.

Now, it's the worst in the country for all those categories.

The people who need to "move away" are the ones responsible for California's decline.

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