Josh said what most everyone is trying to get at, in the simplest of terms: "it seems that as long as we recognize which types of discourse are best suited for the internet, and which are best suited for face-to-face interaction, we can get the best out of both." Sometimes these communication choices depend completely on comfort levels, which I can attest to, as I am posting far too late in the discussion. Just like learning styles, there are communication styles which people adopt and have varying levels of skill at. One person may be comfortable with their method, and when another is explained to them, it is too difficult to adapt to another way of thinking. One person seeing jazz in a Kandinsky painting may be another person's "drawing by a five year old." As for communicating with others, some may have trouble speaking to others because of confidence, and find their confidence in Neverwinter Nights, and would rather have their fun with that than a big loud bar full of dumb people who's only communication is to try to pick someone up. In the world of blogging or putting their words on the internet, it is easy to feel that your words are just going out into the void, with access for any and all. Or, someone could easily give their screename and password for Blogger to someone else so that they would not be held responsible for their homework. Fraud is very easy. Some might call it fantasy.
In regards to all of the civic involvement comments, maybe if people who choose to bowl alone never leave their houses, never get involved with anything, never get concerned about taxes, don't give a damn about their rights or other people's rights, they should be considered hopeless, and those of us that do care, will have more of an opportunity to speak our minds. Cyber-darwinism: if the electronic cottage model is our future, those who are capable of communicating and understanding over the web, then they will survive in the new methods of civic involvement...meetup...Moveon. next stop ISD #834 board elections? Kirsten's involvement is a testament to just that - - it just depends on the candidates for the success of the movement, I suppose.