I had dinner last night with a woman I haven't seen in 32 years. We caught up, and she and Susan met, and we had a good time, just like old friends, but with a multi-decade gap. Of course, this was all made possible by the internet, and probably Facebook, I forget.
I realized though that we may be living in an unusual moment, the onset of hyper-connectedness. Will my children ever experience the feeling of re-connecting with someone after dozens of years of silence? Or will their teen-age friends simply remain part of their Facebook/Google+/WhoKnowsWhat social network forever, so that they never quite disconnect in the first place?
Re-connecting feels like finding a lost treasure, something you valued once, and have re-found. If I had stayed tenuously connected through a de-valuing mechanism like ongoing updates in a sea of "friends", would I have enjoyed last night's dinner as much? Will my children's friends become simply a steady background of noise? Or will they keep lasting relationships because the online communities make it easy to keep them?
Time will tell.