Last year I wrote about my mother’s connectedness – https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/177/
When you are 83, connectedness takes on a new meaning year by year. This year my mother’s connectedness is ‘shrinking’. Those who she can readily connect to (albeit never online) are dying. And she is becoming forgetful. Her neural connections do not work as well as they once did, although she still has a formidable memory for times past.
For me this brings a new dimension to the concept of connectedness. It not only means different things to different people, but it is experienced differently at different stages of the connectedness life-cycle. This is similar to Etienne Wenger’s ideas that a community goes through a life-cycle and ultimately dies.
I can see my mother’s connections waning at social, neural and conceptual levels. She has never used a computer, but that is not the point. My mother was once a highly connected person in her own way, but I can now see a closing down of these connections which is not in her control.
Do online connections make a difference? This week I learned that a past colleague of mine has died – very sad since she was considerably younger than me. But what I find interesting is that her Facebook account is still ‘alive’. People are posting messages to her as if she was still alive.
So what does this mean for connectivity? Can it die – or is it that once it has been initiated, it will always be there, ready for further connection?