Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.

Asynchronous Intimacy

I was proud of inventing this phrase at dinner with one of my best friends a few weeks ago…

(yes, we have conversations like that. shut up. who asked you?)

(in passing, isn’t it amazing to consider how many things make your head spin or your eyes glaze but which somebody else is absolutely in love with? I have friends whose eyes light up for NASCAR or spreadsheets or inventing recipes. I think they’re touched in the head. But then my eyes light up for Shakespeare. It’s a crazy world, ain’t it?)

(I digress.)

…anyway, when I went to write this post I thought I’d better check and it turns out I haven’t. Someone named Mark Blevis said it first. But even if I didn’t, I still think it’s fascinating to think about.

What I mean by asynchronous intimacy is the closeness that doesn’t rely on a live conversation.

It’s not new. In high school, my friend Maria and I shared lockers (hers was upstairs, mine down.) and textbooks, and we’d leave notes for each other all over the brown paper covers. Same thing, different medium.

The difference with social media, though, is quantity and awareness. I don’t know when I’m writing this how many people are going to know something about what I was like when I was 17. But if I check my stats, I can have a guess, and it’s an awful lot more than ever knew that fact before.

And that’s almost like a kind of fame. (if you had enough readers to call it that, anyway. I don’t.) Except that it isn’t, really. Because with actual famous people, people are conditioned to recognize that knowing information about them is not knowing the person. I know Angelina Jolie’s kids’ names, but I don’t know what it’d be like to have lunch with her.

With social media, though, you end up with people you feel close to even though you might not interact with them much.

It’s interesting. To quote one of the smartest men I’ve ever met, I think it’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just different. But what do you think? Is this bad? Good? Has it happened to you?

I’m pondering it.

(…And now you know that I am).

Comments

Andy Aldridge

I believe, that social media and the rise of internet-based communities has given me friends that I would never have had without it. I can honestly say that I am closer to a group of people on an active email list than I am to people I’ve known for many years, even grew up knowing. There are times when I catch myself describing these people as friends, none of whom I have met face-to-face, because the word doesn’t seem to fit. But then again it fits perfectly.

Steve Woodruff

I really enjoy the “async-int” – it leads to connections that lead to synchronous friendship. And that’s what it’s all about!

Peter Justason

Congrats on your 1,000 comments. I know how tough it is to get people to comment on a blog so good for you. Congrats.

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