Living a virtual life
Posted by Melme
My discipline is slipping again. I’ve gone from blogging daily, to blogging a few times a week, to blogging once a week and, now, it’s even worse than that. It’s not at all that I don’t like blogging. I do. I just haven’t had anything noteworthy to write about… Which is funny, really, because if I look back on the things that I’ve blogged about in the past, that’s never stopped me before! But, I’m back. Hopefully, I can get my blogging mojo. I’ve written enough posts about being a bad blogger, blah, blah, blah… Moving on. ;)
Ever feel like your online persona is more interesting/attractive/liked? ;)
At lunch one day recently, my coworkers and I were talking about social networking. Someone (probably me, I don’t remember) mentioned Google+ and one of our science teachers was trying to understand what the purpose was. He’s not on Facebook, though his wife and children are and this is a discussion we’ve had before when Facebook or Twitter were mentioned in reference to some news item, like the Wiener’s wiener pic “scandal”. In short: What’s the point/function of social media?
From an outsider, like our science teacher friend, social media can be kind of confounding. He wasn’t the only one that was inactive, but he had lots of questions. What do people post? Why would you want to post personal information in the internet? Why would anyone care? Who can see your information? And so on. Our youngest faculty member was no help, due to her cynical attitude about everything. (Darn kids!) She took more of a mocking tone that seemed to confuse the unbelievers. (SHUUUUNNNNNNN!) Her stance was kind of a “I never update my Facebook, so people that do are lame!” There was a bit of mocking of someone she knew that “had a whole other life online” and I have to admit to getting a bit annoyed.
Afterall, I am highly active on Twitter and most of my interactions are with people from all over that I have never, and probably won’t ever, meet. And, frankly, for someone who has mild/moderate social anxiety, Twitter is a godsend! I like my imaginary Twitter friends. They are awesome and (most are) nerdy and computer savvy and I never have to talk to them on the dread phone! (Seriously! While I don’t mind talking on the phone too much when people call me, just thinking about making a phone call causes severe anxiety! Stomach in knots, shaking, the whole bit. The telephone function of my smartphone is not my friend!)
So, I spoke up in defense of active social media users. I mentioned the necessity of Facebook for me to communicate with my family, though I’m not a fan. (Why won’t you people use email? I shouldn’t find out about my cousin’s wedding the day of and on Facebook! I know I wouldn’t have been able to go as you’re half a country away, but still! Come on, people!!) Plus, it’s great to see pictures of my distant family and their families grow up and change. It’s neat. I also brought up the Geek Girl Book Club and talked about all the awesome people I’ve met from around the world. I must say, the naysayers seemed quite impressed by the idea of a social media book club and I think the nonusers began to see the more practical use of “living” online. Score one for us!
Of course, not to be outdone, someone from the “social media is stupid” camp replied with “I just don’t want to hear about what people had for breakfast! What should I care?” An easy “Then don’t follow that person.” retort took care of that but then, The Youngster scoffed about some girl that she knows that has a whole online support system. I have a hard time understanding how you could ever see that as a bad thing. Just because you aren’t physically surrounded by your supporters doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable, right? O_o
It’s funny, though, that even though I am a staunch supporter/user of social media, I find myself caving to the embarrassment of having imaginary friends. In fact, that’s part of the reason that I call you people my imaginary friends, though not the primary. (My primary reason is that from the small snippet of information you can glean from knowing someone only online, you get an imaginary image of what you think they are like. Also, it amuses me and that’s what really matters!) Meaning that if you reference something an “online friend” said, people look at you as if you’ve just reserved a seat for Harvey. “Can you get a drink for me and my pooka friend here?” But, be they pooka or not, I love my online friends!
Actually, it’s funny how the camaraderie and acceptance of my “geeky tweeps” have made me even bolder in my nerdiness (as if I needed more of that). I’ve never been ashamed of being a nerd/geek, but I find that it comes out in casual conversation with “normals” now. I find myself talking about my overly well-thought-out arguments about why the Transformers movies are a travesty, complaints about the inaccuracies of the LotR movies vs the books, the sad state of current-gen gaming and the disappointments of a lackluster showing at E3 this year and the list goes on.
One could argue that this isn’t necessarily a good thing, since I tend to run at the mouth anyway and have seen that “WHY are you still talking?” look glaze over my share of eyes. But, that’s been an always thing. I have a tendency to forget that not everyone thinks the things I love are as amazingly interesting as I do… And the older I get, the less I seem to care. My tendency to lose myself in the wonderousness that is fangirlism is just a part of who I am. So, I’m
a teensy bit entirely too passionate about odd things like the brewing of perfect espresso or linguistics… If you don’t like it, you can grin and bear it or avoid me. It’s no skin off my nose! (But seriously, I really want to go study espresso in Italy… It’s that bad.)
I’m vocal about the things I love. I care deeply and I care often. Things that move me, move me beyond words. I can be eloquent, but more often I find myself stuttery and twitchy (to my eyes), much like Wat’s ravings in A Knight’s Tale. (Which is why I avoid politics. The idiocy and futility of American bipartisan politics stirs up the blood too much.) “Pain! Lots of Pain!”
And look at me, getting off topic! That never happens! (-_^)
As I was saying before I went on a huge tangent… I find myself referencing the brilliant things that people on twitter say as “My friend on Facebook…” or things like that instead of “my online friend” or “my twitter friend” since most everyone has a Facebook and they then assume that this is a person that you know in “real life” that just happens to be on Facebook. Which, of course, is more acceptable to more people than scary “strangers” that lurk online, whom you’ve never met and COULD BE LYING TO YOU!@!!@@#!!!!Q!! But, really? Who the frak cares?! My imaginary friends often have way more in common with me than the people I associate with daily. That’s why they’re my friends! They “get” me, damn it!
So what if it turns out that my allegedly male twitter friend, @jonathanhilluk, is actually the Duchess of Cambridge in disguise? We enjoy
arguements great discussions about the virtues of various types of coffee drinks and if Disney movies have taught us anything, other than the benefits of the suppression of women, royalty pretending to be commoners is perfectly natural! Or who cares if “female” twitter friend/blogger @and_we_drown is actually a bro dude trying to turn over a new leaf? “Her” blog is both insightful and entertaining. We should applaud “her” for trying to improve “herself”!
Do I have any reason to believe that either of them are “lying” about who they are? Of course not! Through, Jonathan’s lack of a true profile picture makes one wonder… (-_^) If they were, though, it wouldn’t change the fact that the persona that they’ve created is awesome and, other than opening a discussion of gender and identity, I don’t think it would change the fact that I think they’re both awesome.
Phew! Can you tell I had coffee this morning? (Yay! French press!)
TL;DR: Online relationships/communities can be just as valid and fulfilling as “real” ones, so, don’t be a dick! (But then, when doesn’t Wheaton’s Law apply?)