I’ve been mulling over the term “real life” lately.
Specifically what I mean when I refer to my “real life” as opposed to my “online life.”
What is my real life?
Is it only the portion contained in Bricks and Mortar?
I didn’t really consider whether or not my online life was just as real as my offline life until Miz Turnbaby got her ass all chapped last week and decided to make it the subject of her weekly Blog Talk Radio extravaganza. Before Turn’s callin’ me out, if was merely part of my vernacular.
For me….online communication…and friendships…exist in a different realm. Not that the people I know and love in the blogosphere are any less “real”…they just exist in a different realm…almost a different dimension. Rarely am I exposed to the tone or inflection of their voice, the expressions of their face, or the gestures of the body. (One of the reasons I started listening to BlogTalkRadio was to hear the voices of the people I read.)
One of my very favorite web logs has never shown the face of the author. I quote her…and pray for her….and visit her site almost everyday. I consider her a true friend…and very real….but is she part of my “real life”? Kinda. The pieces I take from her blog cross over into “other” parts of my life.
I am a multi tour veteran of online dating. (all the major league sites…and a couple of the minors) I think it is fraught with danger. Liars, cheats and thieves fill out profiles luring unsuspecting men and women. However, I truly believe it is a valuable tool for single adults in all walks of life. For my part, I met quite a few men who were not in person as they were online. Meeting online is just not the same as meeting in person. I met a few who were exactly who they claimed…but with whom I just did not click. They seemed nice enough in email…in chat and on the telephone…but when I met them in person…eh....not what I thought.
Some of you know I had adamantly opposed a long distance relationship. I am not the type well suited to a part time gig. If I had met a man…no matter how attractive to me... who lived a couple hours away….I would have said no way. However I met one online…and a series of significant emails caused me to reconsider. (if you are so inclined… see the links at the end of this post to read the articulate, heartfelt messages The Teamster used to convince me….) Granted until I met him face to face….I had no idea if my impression of him was “real" or not…but if we had first met in “real life” I would have never considered the possibilities.
My family belongs to many online communities, FaceBook, MySpace, GoodReads, LinkedIn to name a few. Some of my weblog friends have crossed over into these venues as well. Does that multiple connection make them more “real” to me….probably not.
You may have read of my meeting Sandee and Linda in real life…(sorry Turnbaby…in person). I have to admit…they are more real to me now having spent a couple hours over dinner with them than before. They were both real to me before…but now…more real.
Just like you all are “real” to me. The personal insights I glean from your writing and your photographs. The private details you share about your life…the good stuff and the bad. The way you comment on other blogs… the blogs I read in common with you. What you hint at and allude to…and what you never blog about at all….provide me a framework of who you are.
Many people (in all demographics) do not invest a great deal of time or effort into the world wide web. They have no online presence…and indeed our blogosphere is unreal to them. Most of the world has no access…for many reasons. They could not consider our blog world as being real life. Many people I know have only heard the horror stories and view the internet as a more efficient delivery method for gossip and pornography (paraphrasing Leo McGarry). I found this funny little video giving examples of "real life vs the internet" which conveys a bit of truth.
The definition of “real life” is changing in our culture. As with everything the degree of reality in your online life depends of what you put into it. And what you get out of it. My online, two-dimensional, virtual, internet life is very real indeed.
For those of you who are fans of the rapper “Plies” the CD “Definition of Real” is scheduled to be released on 10 June 2008.…I‘ve never heard his stuff….but hey…he‘s thinking about "real life" too.
Craig...The Serotinous Man...has expanded (expounded?) on his comment to this post...
"we have created an environment that is causing us to expand our understanding of consciousness, communication, relationship, connectivity, and even humanity - especially blogger's C;). "
He always has some interesting thoughts....you might want to check him out...
The Teamster emails….
get “REAL”...If you actually scrolled down here to look…shame on you. I was joking! Sheesh…even people in my 3D life don’t get to read those…