Tuesday, October 18, 2016

IS THE INTERNET YOUR PARENT?

These questions ocurred to me today while on the bus to Camden Town.

Is posting on the internet our thoughts, our pictures, our stories, our rants, our activities, then eagerly, hungrily, checking for responses, is it a bit like being a child again, seeking parental approval or if not approval, any kind of response? Are all internet social media like metaphorical parents of whatever sort of child we were (and still are to some degree)?

For my part I can answer a hesitant yes. Does anybody else reading this feel the same?

I cross-post to Facebook and some people have replied over there.

17 comments:

Davoh said...

is it a bit like being a child again, seeking parental approval or if not approval, any kind of response? .

Probably. Apparently; the more years i have seen and experienced - the more i find myself behaving like a child.

Tom said...

I wonder if your question, as well as Davoh's response even, presupposes that our inner child died at some point. It seems to me that we are the sum of all that we have ever been. And I have been a child, regretfully.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Davoh, I can identify with that, in a good way. I find that it's the parts about my child-self that I like which are perhaps more confident now. Not easy to express in just a few lines, but that's the gist of it.

Tom, no, I certainly don't feel that my inner child ever died. It's more free, perhaps wiser than it was in the past. But we had very different childhoods and I know from what you've written about it, that yours was not happy. I'm sad about that.

Catalyst said...

"Yup", he said, blushing slightly and tugging his forelock.

Should Fish More said...

Well, hell. I hesitate to be the oddball on the page, but no. I don't look for approval to my posts. In fact, one thing that irritates the hell out of me is that we, through the process, winnow out people who disagree with us. I still think they read my stuff sometimes, but never comment anymore.
At 70 plus, I don't care a whit about pleasing anyone anymore. I do wish more would disagree with me, but that does not seem to be the norm now.
Cheers,
Mike

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Mike, you're not the oddball. This post was about a sudden feeling I had that my interactions via internet communication were similar to my childhood rapports with parents. I'd have to go into a lot more detail to explain this and I don't want to do that, but it was more about the dynamics behind the whole process and the need for response, any kind of response, not necessarily approval. Approval can be encouraging but it's not my motivation for online communication. Disagreement can sometimes be more interesting and enlightening than agreement.

Political topics attract disagreement and comments can degenerate into pointless opinion contests so I mostly avoid those topics, though events have a way of demanding inclusion.

Davoh said...

Natalie ... have re-thought the question. No, the internet has not really invoked my inner child seeking "approval". While yes, 'parental' approval was sparse in my early life .... kept pottering along. At my age, doubt that am looking for "approval" in that quite a lot of my behavior over past years; what i do, what i say IS 'dis-approved of'....
Meh.
Have i ever been in prison? No.

However, not dead yet.

Davoh said...

Beware of the 'approval' of Facebook.

Davoh said...

... and yep ..sometimes i invoke my 'parental' responses. Had no 'father'. My mother was very 'dis-approving'. No books in the house - apart from the ersatz 'fashion' magazines... every female should wear twinset and pearls .... even if they were fake plastic .. heh.

Leah Hewittsmith said...

i dont see it as childish at all, rather human tis all.

Leah Hewittsmith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Davoh, as I said above replying to someone else, I wasn't really talking about getting approval. It simply struck me that the interactions one goes through in the processs of blogging, then waiting for comments, then replying to comments, reminds me of feelings I had as a child in interactions with my parents. The dynamic is what struck me, rather than whether responses were approval, or criticism, or indifference, or anything else.

Leah, I agree with you. But my observation wasn't about beng 'childish'nor was I branding everyone interacting on the internet as childish. I should have explained myself better. See above.

Leah Hewittsmith said...

i guess i've never equated internet dynamics to a parent-child relationship, rather it appears as a giant bullentin board in the wilderness where man, woman, child go to self-express, and in doing so look for response or reaction, depending. Using "childish" wasn't used as a reproach; perhaps child-like would have been closer to your feeling. I Found your topic fascinating.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thanks Leah, I certainly concur with your wonderful image of a giant bulletin board in the wilderness! It inspires me to wonder what a giant collage would look like, taking bits of those bulletins at random here and there and assembling them on another giant board?

Hattie said...

Yeah. I never expect approval for anything creative I do. My parents were stingy with their praise, and most of the people I know tend to approve of things like how my kids have "turned out" and my cooking, ie the conventional ways a woman is approved of. Other things they are inclined to view as just activities that keep me busy. This has freed me in some ways to create what I please. If people like what I do, that's a bonus!

Hattie said...

Oh, I forgot the original question. Yes, The Internet makes it possible to be in touch with people who might understand what I do, unlike the people in my proximity.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hattie, I don't think approval is essential where one's creative life is concerned. But response, that's important. Intelligent criticism or attentive observation can be more useful and interesting than praise. Of course it's very nice when people like what we say or write or otherwise create, but I think what we all want deep down, is response that engages with us. That's the child/parent rapport I meant: a child constantly praised by his/her parents is not necessarily better off than one who's constantly criticised. To be recognised for who one is, as an individual, that's often what the child doesn't get from parents.