It was 10 years ago today that the very first episode of New World Next Week was posted to the web. Joining James Corbett in Japan to celebrate the event is New World Next Week co-host James Evan Pilato of MediaMonarchy.com.
Upon Meeting A Friend for the First Time
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been collaborating with James Evan Pilato on New World Next Week—our weekly news update series—for 10 years now. It’s even harder to believe that, after all these years of talking about a real-world meet up with James, it finally came to pass. But if you’ve seen my latest video/podcast, you’ll see that we managed to combine the two events: A real-life meet up here in Japan for the 10th anniversary of the series.
But a funny thing happened on the way to this podcast. A few months ago, when it became clear that this was really going to occur, I realized I had no idea how tall Pilato actually is. In fact, I even made a bet with Corbett Report video editor Broc West: If Pilato was at least six feet tall (as I speculated) Broc owed me a curry next time he’s in Japan. If Pilato was shorter than that, I’d owe Broc a bowl of ramen (his favorite Japanese dish).
It struck me right away how very 21st century this bet is. How many people in the history of humanity have never actually stood face to face with someone they consider to be a friend? Sure, it’s happened—pen pals and other unusual long-distance friendships have existed in the past, after all. But it’s only in the online era that people have colleagues, associates, friends and even hookups with people they’ve only ever known as on-screen avatars or (at best) Skype images.
For me, this raises all sorts of intriguing questions. What does it mean to be friends with someone you’ve never met? What kinds of things are left out when we lack real-world contact with our computer companions? Are there ways to compensate for that lack? Is online friendship really possible, or is it just another digital phantom, deluding us with a simulacrum of human contact?
So, is online community possible? What do we miss out when we never meet face to face? And just how tall is Pilato, anyway? Discover the answer to all of your burning questions in this week’s edition of The Corbett Report Subscriber. To access the full newsletter and to support this website, please become a member today.