Saturday, March 10, 2007

Home alone

I got nothing today. Nada. Zilch. Moh yeh. No philosophical insights, no words of wisdom. What have I accomplished today? … You got it. – Nothing.

It's rainy, wet and miserable; and I'm home alone. Boo hoo. So, I'll do another Wenda and just let my fingers type whatever comes. Here goes.

It's not that I've done nothing. I just haven't done anything very useful. I've been surfing the web, writing silly flash fiction, playing Spider Solitaire, followed by Hearts, interspersed with trips to the kitchen to make tea; finding and toasting some left over garlic bread (which was delicious, by the way); and wondering what to write in my blog.

Today, I came across a disagreement on one of the forums I frequent. It got pretty heated with swearing, name-calling and sarcasm. At one point, I wanted to jump into the fray, but my better judgement prevailed, and I kept out of it. It's amazing how out of control these online arguments can get and how out and out nasty people get. Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I seldom run into these types of arguments in real life.

It leads me to wonder what the posters on these forums are like IRL (see, I can pick up online speak, too). Are they as aggressive, assertive, silly, funny, dumb as they appear to be online? (I was going include 'intelligent' on that list, but I think it's hard to fake intelligence for any length of time).

We all make assumptions about people based on what they present to the outside world, and in the case of the interweb, how they write and respond in discussion forums, blogs, and comments. I start wondering if they'd be people I'd really like to meet face to face, whether I'd like them, whether they'd like me. The more I think about it the more I believe there aren't that many I'd want to meet in person. That's not to say I don't like or am not interested in the people I've met online; it's just that I'm not sure meeting them in reality would mesh with my assumptions, if that makes sense. Although, it might make for some interesting experiences.

Those I'd probably want to meet would be those I think are both interesting and who I think represent their true selves online. Not the easiest to judge, I know, but to me, genuineness (is that a word?) means they've shown more than one aspect of themselves - the good, the bad, and sometimes, the ugly.

No one is the same all the time. We're complex creatures. Sometimes we're serious and thoughtful. Sometimes we're silly and goofy. Sometimes we're irritable and angry. It's part of being human. I like to see these different sides of a person, if for no other reason than to feel they are genuine human beings. Not to say I don't know people who always seem serious or always silly, but they seem a bit fake and, honestly, don't make the best of friends. How can you be yourself around a constant clown or someone who takes ever utterance you make as though it's a message from on high? There is time for humour in life and time to be a grown up and take things seriously, both have their place. I guess what I'm saying is that online people, like their real life counterparts are, and should be, complex. Beware, the one-trick ponies.

(So how did I get here?) Oh, right. I've learned to take people I meet online with a grain of salt. It's hard to know the real person behind the screen name and projected persona, but I think (underline 'think') I'm getting better at figuring it out.


Anonymous said...

I for one am completely myself. I actually haven't got a clue about how to be anyone else. Arguments on-line are funny though and I don't understand how people can get that upset about something written by someone they don't know. Even more odd is those who get upset and then go on to say they don't care what others think of them. That's true fun. Now don't go finding any posts where I've been upset, that would be unfair.

There are people I "know" on-line that I think it would be fun to meet and see how they are in person, but with my luck I'll probably just meet the psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

I've met some people in person I corresponded with online. Those who presented themselves honestly were no surprise, but some were not-as-advertised. Like you, I hope I'm getting better at being able to tell more about them. Blogging helps with this as well as the emails from an online support group I'm in (all women since it's the birthmother group).

Not surprisingly, I agree with all you said. ALL of it! LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm a busybody, but I'm also shy.


Anonymous said...

donny, I can relate. I was extremely , even painfully, shy. Like you, I was a busybody and interested in everything and everybody. Somewhere along the line, I got comfortable in my own skin and got over my shyness (at least the debilitating part of it).