Why is it important to dwell on the observable awkwardness between people in real life who normally experience nearness between them in an online setting? Why would it matter to us when there is so much else going on?
Awkwardness to be with people offline might become the default state as a result of phenomena such as the current, threatening virus. Maybe it already is. Maybe we will never again experience a state of non-awkwardness around other people in real life. And maybe subtle nuances as to why we feel socially awkward offline might become indiscernible among a mix of divergent reasons.
According to us, we have a duty to segregate our experiences before they become irreversibly blurred into a brown, unified mass. There still is time. Our past is still fresh enough to be accessible to us.
This line of thinking as to why dwelling on online and offline communication is relevant, precisely at this time, presupposes that there is something like a basic human experience that is more or less layered. It presupposes a human experience that carries within itself recognizable layers that do not change over time. It is these layers that enable us to understand experiences from people who lived thousands of years ago and that will enable humans thousands of years from now to understand us. But, at the same time, they also enable us to understand how our experiences are different because of layers that we do not share with these humans.
By probing the layered nature of our current experience of others we hope to come to reflections about human communication that one day may turn out to be worthwhile, if not for us then for humans in the future.