Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rave: The miralce of the internet, a.k.a. my friends in the black box (part 2)

Like offline friendships, my online friends and I support each other in bad times, and celebrate in the good times (because of time zones, one of my online friends was the first to know I was engaged). We also support each others' endeavours in whatever we do; much of the sponsorship and some of the topics for my blogathon have come from people I have never met in person (and, because someone is awake somewhere at all times, this is one of the many times my online friends will help me get through the night-- it's just the reason is much better this time).

Friendships where the parties have never met is not new, or restricted to the internet. When I was a kid it was the done thing to have a pen-pal in some far flung country that you hoped to travel and meet one day. What is new about the internet is the ability to seek out a community of like-minded people and meet a lot of them at once, incurring few or no expenses; this lower barrier to entry means that more people are able to try it.

That's all very dry and clinical, though. My online friendships have meant more to me than the sum of their parts, though; and because I know some of those people are reading tonight, I will try and explain why. I'm a bit lot of a hardass in person; I come across brash and brusque, and I try never, ever to talk about my feelings. I don't expect people to like me, and that's fine by me. If they do like me, then they know what to expect. Except, that's all bullshit. it's convincing bullshit, but it is bullshit nonetheless. Forgive me for the navel-gazing here, but having friends online, where it is easier to think before you speak, and where it is possible to take time out before you make a response has meant I have been able to try out the part of my personality that is not bullshit. And by seeing people like and respect that personality, for the most part, it comes out in everyday life more often. Do you know how much easier life is when you aren't constantly bullshitting?

Because my friends are kind and respectful, because they have hearts of gold and have accepted me, because I feel supported by them, my life has gotten easier. And that sort of story is the real miracle of friends on the internet.


Anastasia said...

It is much easier to relax and be yourself with friends in the box. But honestly most of the folks I met on line would be friends in any situation.

You are doing great kiddo, keep at it.

Carole said...

You are awesome, never doubt it. :-)

Your post has also catalyzed some thoughts I've had percolating around - I suspect I'll be doing a bit of writing in the next couple of days, on a related subject.

You're doing great on your blogging - you're still coherent, which is more than I would be at this time! LOL