I received a notification from WordPress wishing me a Happy 5th Anniversary. I thought this would be a good time to end my blogging hiatus.
By and large, you can learn a lot about people from blog posts and in the comment section. IMO, the best part about the blogosphere is the comment section. I have invested hundreds of hours reading thousands of comments over the years, and I’ve been fortunate to meet people who are refreshingly real. In a 3D world (and depending on the culture) people tend to be more inhibited in social settings, and it might take months and even years to get to know people, intimately; what they think and feel in an innermost way.
Chameleons changing colors
While a crocodile cries
People rubbing elbows
But never touching eyes
Taking of their masks
Still another guise
People buying happiness
And manufactured fun
What everybody’s done
People count on people
Who can only count to one
All the pretty clouds
Are a lovely shade of black
You find the right direction
Someone tears up all the track
People worship crosses
Fingers crossed behind their back
Old friends get together
But it’s solitaire they play
Done in different shades of gray
Its a lovely place to visit
But I wouldn’t want to stay
In a genuine
By Jake Holmes – Genuine Imitation Life (1967)
In psychology, this ability to be more authentic, online, is known as the Disinhibition Effect, which is defined as a reduction or abandonment of social restrictions and inhibitions found in normal face-to-face communication.
A couple of days ago, my blogging buddy and friend, Esme, published a post “Poetry In Motion.” To my great pleasure, the comment section evolved to mirror my own sentiments, observations and experiences in this online community.
Swarn: I agree with you that there is much that the virtual world can bring out in us that might take time in person. I wonder why that is? Perhaps we are all too preoccupied with sex. lol But it’s nice to have an environment with less fear of expression.
Esme: “I wonder why that is?” – It’s because we aren’t distracted and dictated by the social conventions and restrictions we have been raised to almost rigidly stick to outside of this box – raps the computer – – therefore initial physical attraction is limited to a small avatar of face, (if there is one, and not picture of a cat eating spaghetti in a tutu, and sometimes that might actually help – falls about), in any early stage of a friendship/relationship online. Tis the cerebral that is at the fore. Later perhaps people send more extensive photographs, videos or ‘face jibber’ at one another, but getting to know people initially usually involves rather more insight into the one organ that normally doesn’t get all that much exposure straight off — the brain. (throws two people out for sniggering at ‘organ) People fall in love with the mind before the body online — we may see a couple of photographs but 2D has none of the quirks/tics/body language that would normally give us our positive or negative cues.
So, one falls in love/becomes terribly fond of a mind, predominantly, nay exclusively. How someone ticks. For all of society’s emphasis on appearance, there is no greater compliment than to know you are admired, loved, or fancied to a point of utter distraction purely because of that which you harbour in your head. It’s cutting to the chase basically. It’s who you are at the core (blimey). In real life, if you get together with someone, you may never gain access to that which they show of themselves happily online, though some will filter through of course, (this tends to get rarer as time ticks on and the bath needs cleaning, and the kids need picking up from the ‘Toddler Zumba’ club) because they can’t say it all. They can write it. And of course some people would be unrecognisable offline should you bump into them unwittingly in a pub say, and I don’t mean physically (though yes, I’m sure that does happen quite frequently, especially bearing in mind how many people use flattering photographs which are about ten to fifteen years old) being incredibly shy, or a thousand other hidden attributes that bear no relation to their online persona in 3D. Others will be as near as dammit the same. If you have fallen for their mind first however, you know the heights of wonder they are capable of. You can find out all the faults later on hahahahaha. This all rings the same bell with friendships of course, though the path leans more towards just pure enjoyment/adoration/the gleaning of joy of their being. Their existence. And distance is no barrier. It’s a very different way to access love.
Then there’s age! One of my favourite aspects. I have several older friends, both male and female, and one of them , now in his eighties, is a shameless flirt of the highest degree. He makes Professor Taboo look like a virgin who has just taken her vows. If you didn’t know his age, you’d never know it was above thirty five. And that’s just as it should be! Our bodies age, get wrinkly and saggy eventually, but our minds still have the fire they had within when forty years younger. The web enables one to skate over age without even seeing it. Also, if you have an avatar that isn’t of yourself, people will end up subconsciously creating an image of you anyway in their brains — one that they think fits, and I think that’s quite interesting. Had I met my friends who are in their seventies/eighties in 3D, the conversations would never have turned to some of the rum topics that have been exchanged online. The freedom it affords is quite something, and leads to forging relationships (irrelevant of age or physical appearance) of all kinds that are likely to be far more well matched.Swarn: Great response. I agree with your answer wholeheartedly, but I guess when I asked why I also meant it in the sort of broader sense of why can’t we become more like we are on the internet? Personally I’ve been using it for practice. lol If I like my virtual world persona better, than I figure this is how I should try to be more in the real world. It’s a work in progress. 🙂 It has been my experience, in the words of Robert Frobisher, “All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended”, and that when we do transcend then people mind less than you think they will. In fact I’ve found that most people are happier being free to be themselves than to constantly feel like they have to tuck something away. I am a very open person, and I’ve found that by adopting that attitude people are more at ease around me than they might be with somebody else, because I think we can always tell, when in person somebody is tucking a part of themselves away. We are all waiting for the other person to lay their cards on the table first. I refuse to wait for others, mostly because it just seems like a waste of time, when you can get down to the heart of the matter more quickly.”