Online outgrowing offline divisions
It’s already been the third time this month I’ve learned about friends getting a new member of their family via my mobile phone. Yesterday, I received a text message from a friend who shared a photo of his newborn daughter, along with a note about how he feels being a father. A week ago, another friend posted a photo of her child online. Last month, another new father shared a video shot in the delivery room. The baby’s video - with the umbilical cord still attached - was almost like an art-house movie.
People share their most precious moments with friends and families on various social networks. Those services have become spaces of beautiful communication. Many young parents not only announce having children, but create digital albums for their children, posting photos and stories over the years. They let their loved ones know how they are doing and how the newborn babies are growing up. The real-life drama posted on social networks doesn’t need professional writers or directors.
Nowadays, social networking is an essential part of dating and hosting weddings. Last week, I was going to a wedding but, having left the invitation in my office, couldn’t remember where the venue was. Fortunately, I could find a digital invitation that the bride and groom shared online. The digital invitation included photos from their childhoods and moments from their relationship. The couple even shared photos from their honeymoon with a cute title: “Arrived safely, Operation Honeymoon Baby begins!”
Last week, I received a message from a friend I hadn’t kept in touch with for a while. He was leaving Korea for a job in the United States, and his friends were getting together for a farewell party. The online invitation had a private space to send him a personal note and a public space for the RSVP. Cyberspace is becoming a friendly and humane space. The harsh and aggressive digital world we saw during the presidential election has made a great transformation. More impressive is that this positive change is an autonomous product of our collective consciousness, without any direction or guideline. It reflects what people really want and are interested in.
While social networking spaces are gentrifying, offline reality is different. I may not be the only one to think that some politicians and politics are held back by the past and the presidential election, and cannot progress any more. However, we no longer need curse-filling flame wars in cyberspace, where we share friendship and humanity. That is the wish of online users and all citizens.
*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by CHAE IN-TAEK