On the radio someone mentioned how a friend used to “bring over records” to listen to great obscure tracks. I have fond memories of friends playing songs for me and accompanying me on my first listening.

Such rapt attention has become rare, particularly when live concerts are harder to manage (parenthood etc). Many friends post links of awesome music – and when conditions allow I enjoy following the links.

But it ain’t the same as hearing the tune in the same room & moment.
The medium was part of the experience. Music on vinyl bound together the physical effort of listening with the mind’s adventure of hearing. Some sounds still remind me of the place I first heard them. When listening does not demand effort, it does not receive attention.

I’ve arrived at a term: “LIFE SPRAWL”. I have many great friends, and too many of them live over an hour away. (“An hour away” may be only a few miles in the Bay Area, but it still gets in the way.)

Social Networking connects us through shared information, but not shared experience. This is one reason memes and posts gravitate so reliably toward nostalgia.

When we do get together, we tend to leave the sharing online, referencing a post or saying “I’ll send you a link”. The conversation rightly takes priority – but then, the experience to be shared is postponed until each participant is alone.

My takeaway: grownup socializing needs to include a period of SHOW-AND-TELL, specifically to re-connect the things we share to the people we share them with.
Social Networking allows us to borrow ideas, values and information from our friends, without necessarily growing the friendships in the process. I want to cultivate my life like a properly managed garden which nourishes the soil as well as the plants that grow within it.

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