My older brother and I have always been close. We attended the same elementary school, high school and university; we spent years bailing each other out of trouble, sharing rides, advice and friends. He was always around to help me with problems or initiate wild adventures. After graduation he moved to Wyoming, leaving me in a different time zone.
Keeping in touch is difficult. It takes initiative, time and some sort of means to actually communicate. Letters are slow and the telephone poses the constraints of needing both people to be available at the same time. The invention of the Internet provided a form of communication that is close to instantaneous, but could be used at one’s leisure.
My friends and family know that the easiest way to reach me is through e-mail, since I am somewhat addicted to checking it, and am constantly on the run. Through e-mail I am able to continue to get my brother’s advice on how to deal with Mom and Dad (and then immediately e-mail them, using his guidance). We share stories and photos constantly, whether it is eight in the morning before classes or when he gets home from work late at night.
He sends me links to websites that he finds hilarious, knowing that I’ll laugh with him. He sends photographs of his extreme mountain biking adventures that make me glad to be sent a photograph, rather than being beside him fearing for his life. I’ve even met his new cat, Kenya, thanks to the invention of webcams and a neat little program called Skype. Even though I won’t see my brother until December, the Internet keeps convenient communication in our hectic lives.
Janna Quitney Anderson Director of Imagining the Internet aked students enrolled in her Reporting course in Elon University’s School of Communications to write about the Web’s influence on them and also shoot and post a short YouTube video. Janna can be reached at (336) 278 5733
This Story and Video by Kate Austin, other stories by other students to follow.