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The other day I got to thinking about how the internet is a wonderful communication tool.

Through such wonders as facebook, Skype, email, instant messaging, online rpg’s, blogs and Twitter (and probably several others I’m not cool enough to know about) we can keep in contact with friends and family, new and old no matter where they, or we, are in the world.

And the number and types of devices that exist to allow access to all the chatter… tablet pc’s such as the ipad, smart phones, desktop pc’s, netbooks… seem endless. There really is no reason not to be up to date and in touch with all our friends.

I am a massive fan of the internet – I think its one of the most important inventions of my lifetime and I use it ALL the time for work and play and can’t actually image my life without it. I’m also a huge fan of online communicating. I am on Facebook and Twitter and I write this blog and read them too.

Our enforced captivity in Moscow and the associated penny pinching has meant we have had a lot of days and nights in which has given us plenty of time to observe our fellow travellers. I’ve been amazed by the number of people who have brought their laptop or notebook pc with them – me and stef included. It’s so convenient being able to check emails, book flights, and keep up with people at home without having to queue for a pc or try to find an internet cafe.

But after spending time with people far from home I can’t help wondering if being so plugged in to our virtual social networks is detrimental to our Real Life socializing.  When I went to Asia in 2008 very few people had laptops or smart phones – I’m pretty sure the iphone hadn’t even been invented yet – so if we wanted the pc we had to wait for one to become free.

The upside of this was that a lot of interesting people were encountered in the pc queue and all the time we didn’t spend on the computer had to be spent somehow, and that was gossiping, talking, watching movies and generally interacting with other people. I knew everyone in my dorm, and I still speak to some of the people I met – on facebook I grant you but I met them face to face in the first place.

This time round is different somehow. It’s always easier to talk to people we already know and sometimes I’m lazy and don’t want to talk to anyone but I haven’t really met anyone this time, and I don’t think it’s just me. It’s pretty hard to talk to someone who is tapping away and there seems to be a large number of people doing just that.

I think that while I love my existing friends and my family, and am very fond of my blog, I need some balance between having my head in cyberspace and actually getting out there and finding things to write to you all about, because as wonderful as the internet it, its real life experiences I’m here for after all.

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