Can We Be Friends?

Voice Card  -  Volume 9  -  John Card Number 19  -  Sun, Oct 8, 1989 2:55 AM

As I've said many times before, Archipelago is an experiment, an experiment not only in technology but in human relationships. Some of you have expressed some hesitation about talking openly via voice card. You are sometimes afraid of boring or offending one another and you may ask yourself "who are these people, anyway?"

I knew most of you before I formed the group (although I've met Robert only briefly and have never met Tomás), but most of you knew only me or maybe Paul when you first started. Since the group started, some of you have met each other, thanks largely to the influence of Holly. (Perhaps Paul, Holly, and Tomás should get together sometime.)

The question is, can we become friends just by typing sentences onto these strange little cards? How are friendships formed, anyway? Through shared activities, certainly, and mostly through conversations.

But do our voice card exchanges constitute a true conversation, the kind of conversation that builds friendships? Conversations are normally private, whereas voice cards are only semi-private. And conversations are real time, whereas voice card exchanges are painfully slow. And there are no eyes or hands or faces, no laughter. Can we become friends anyway?

I think we CAN. It will just take longer. Perhaps we can speed the process by asking and answering more questions about who we are and where we come from. It would also help to talk openly about the problems in communicating by card.

If we can become friends, then the friendship will be a most unusual and remarkable one. We come from different walks of life and under normal circumstances would never have met. If we can make it to volume 100, we will have shared a significant hunk of our lives and will have much to look back on.

A toast on the first anniversary of Archipelago: here's to friendships old and new.