It's an interesting concept and this reader thought of it reading this post yesterday on blogging:
The main components of 'Lost Intimacy' are 'Forced Intimacy' and 'False Intimacy'. This phenomenon is something relatively new to our society and it's a result of such things as the internet, instant information, blogs, tabloid and tabloid journalism and the culture of celebrity among other things.
Something about your post reminded me of this idea and it's one of the reasons I can't really bring myself to become a blogger - even though I find them fascinating. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to become that "intimate" with people I don’t really know. And I take your comment that you DO feel very close to your readers, and that is very commendable, but my question to you is: Isn't it a false intimacy? Granted, one can become 'intimate' with a person through a series of letters while never actually 'meeting' that person physically history is filled with such literary dalliances but even those relationships I would call a 'false intimacy'.
I posted on a blog site once and challenged everyone as to why they were being so insulting and calling each other names and told them they would never use such language if they were in the physical presence of that person. To a man they pretty much agreed. They were, in my opinion, caught in a 'false intimacy' with each other.
The internet has allowed rampant 'false intimacy' and it is slowly being taken for 'true intimacy', that coupled with the 'forced intimacy' of all the other media and cell phones and blackberrys that hail down on us endlessly, I believe, has beget 'lost intimacy' and may in the long run become 'the death of intimacy'.
I wouldn't call the intimacy that a blog creates between a blogger and readers "false". There are about a dozen readers whom I have really gotten to know over the years and correspond with often. I feel I know them. I rarely meet them, but when I did recently in L.A., it was a delight. The physical meeting merely solidified a virtual friendship that was real.
But then there's the geniune false intimacy in which I think I know someone like Glenn Reynolds and even call him by his first name, but I've only ever met him once. In that sense, I'd say my sense of intimacy isn't false. Rather, I am genuinely intimate with a persona - "Instapundit" - rather than a person - "Glenn Reynolds." That's why I really don't take blog-flames and personal insults personally. Because they are directed at the blogger me, not the full me. The flamers are intimate with the mask all writing demands. Occasionally, I realize how false the mask can be. Some people I've met who only know me from the blog are surprised that I come off rather differently in person. The intimacy they felt from the blog was merely with the persona, not the person.
As for forced intimacy, I couldn't agree more. I routinely remove phones from their jacks and rarely answer my own cell-phone. I use it almost entirely for out-calls and meeting up at airports and the like. I'm amazed by how many people have become slaves to their devices and to the needs and demands of strangers and friends. These are just my impressions. I'm sure readers have other ones.