what is this?

people are asking what’s real and what’s not (i won’t point fingers), and concluding the web’s not. okay fine. some of this arose out of a certain april fool’s prank (again, no finger pointing) that folks fell for. my advice to everyone is get over it already. it’s as real as you want it to be. it’s as silly as your sense of humor allows it to be. and there’s a certain detachment, but then there isn’t. the feelings are real, even if they are grown in a rather hothouse environment — the immediacy and intimacy of blogging.

blogging is a very efficient way of communicating. in blogging, or more accurately journaling, you distill the essence of your days and memories into a few paragraphs, which can then be perused at will — it’s no wonder friendships develop so well here. you can meet someone, cruise through their archives, and know more about them in a shorter period of time, than getting to know someone face to face. we get personal in these logs of ours.

so is this instant intimacy, just add bandwidth, real? sure it is. it’s not like spending years getting to know someone in real life, how could it be? but these days, how often do you get the chance to do that? life has taken away many of our chances at forging the longlasting bonds we formed back when we were likely never to leave our home town, work for the same company all our lives.

life has isolated many of us, with time constraints and the necessary mobility. the internet has offered us a way to connect that transcends these limitations. no, it’s not like it was in the olden days. nothing is.

so all this, ‘it isn’t real’ — well, whatever. and if any of you not-realers would like to step up and hand me a fucking cigarette, then nobody gets hurt. no, what i meant is, i’m open to debate. really.

but i don’t think you can prove to me that these friendships aren’t real.

50 thoughts on “what is this?

  1. I have to wonder what all this self searching and truth seeking is really about. What are people searching for, that it’s so important that it’s “real”?

    Me? I love the whole fake nature of the internet, I can cheat with a girl with no guilt… I can totally ruin someone’s life and never have to watch them cry… hurt someone with no remorse, because they’re not real.

    Someone pisses me off, I can just ignore their IM’s and emails… the net totally rocks!!!!

  2. yeah, that was … not quite what i meant but, you know, whatever works for you.

    i still think it’s pretty real. you know, the people i’ve found who i’ve listened to, and who have listened to me. who have helped me through the tough times. *ahem* like you, mr. virus, for instance.

  3. I pretty much agree with you kd but here, have a fag anyway 😉

    For me the internet works in much the same way as real life. Like Jen I’m often initially reserved and take time getting to know people but sometimes when I meet someone for the first time we just “click” and that’s happened on the internet too. There will always be frauds on the internet but there’s plenty of those IRL too. There are lots of horror stories about the internet but I wish the openess and generosity to be (easily) found was as well publicised too.

  4. There are people on-line pretending to be someone they’re not? First I learn that Raul is imaginary and now this. I just don’t know what to think anymore.

    Personally, I can’t imagine wanting to expend the effort to maintain a false persona on-line or off.

    I think that the immediacy of intimacy would be scary if it happened with every single person I’ve met via blogging. The truth is that it has happened with a few individuals. I am so thankful that these wonderful people have entered my life. Sometimes, people just click. Is it real? It is to me. If I tell someone I care for them, that’s all there is to it… I care for them.

    I don’t see the friendships I’m speaking of as being based on a couple emails or commentary on a blog entry. They are friendships being formed based on common interest and genuine caring.

    Now if someone were to write me and profess undying romantic love, well I might wonder where that came from 😉

  5. now, i’m glad both scott and shelagh have mentioned that “clicking” because i’ve had that happen. and it’s wonderful, and it’s probably very similar to the way it goes in real life.

    it’s actually more likely to happen online because the geographic boundaries are expanded.

  6. As new to the scene, I gotta say that some of what I have read has been so real it has taken my breath away. And it has expressed real humanity in a way that is intelligent and and eloquent, and I don’t experience much of that in real life. I don’t know you, I can’t see you, but I been ’round the block a bit, and folk don’t tell those stories when they’re lying. So thanks, those of you who have taken my breath away.

  7. I don’t know that someone who is with me regularly IRL knows the “real” me any more than someone that only sees me online. I’m not even sure that I know who the “real” me is, sometime.

    What passes for truthful expression is really just how one person sees things at a given point in time, so we can all be totally “truthful” and still give a wrong impression.

    If perception is reality, then I perceive my online acquaintances as being real.

    And Jen, I thought what we shared was special. Was I wrong?

  8. It’s real if the communication goes both ways and is honest. If it’s one sided, though, it’s not really a relationship. There are lots of people I know over the internet that I have real friendships with, but the point of my rant the other day was that reading someone’s weblog, in and of itself, is not a healthy basis for a friendship.

  9. I should say “exclusively” instead of “in and of itself” …sometimes the right words only come to mind after I hit post 🙂

  10. Dear jadedju:

    Well, this is very sudden. Still, we’re both lesbians and past the age of consent, so I say let’s throw caution to the wind and run off togeather… but only if I get to be the bitch 90% of the time.

    I await your reply with quivering, patchouli scented loins.

    Love, scott

  11. Dear jadedju,

    I have waited for you lover, yet you have not replied. If I find out that you are trysting with that cyber-hermaphrodite Raul/Portia I am going to crawl into bed with a bag of double stuff Oreos and fall into an endless shame spiral.

    It’s because I’m flat chested, isn’t it? You women are all the same *hmph*

    Your ever loving,


  12. 1. jadedju, does this mean we aren’t getting married? is our little romance fake because it’s happening online?

    2. scott, you know damn well that raul isn’t “imaginary.” i told you about my DID (dissociative identity disorder). please respect my illness.

    3. jadedju, why are you chasing after scott? you know he can’t give you what i can (10″ uncut).

    — raul, step away from the computer. thank you. —

    4. scott, don’t worry, i love you more than jadedju. don’t forget about my hand.

    5. kd, you rock. this is a great little post you’ve got going. you really hit a nerve.

  13. i’m not sure this is what i had in mind, originally — i was talking about platonic friendship thingys, not necessarily having hot sweaty kinky monkey cyber-orgies. actually i wish i’d thought of that in the first place, it’s ever so much fun.

  14. ah, caught flirting with Scott by my main squeeze. Damn, how does this stuff happen? I mean every former girlfriend of mine was cheating on me, and I never had a clue! Portia, darling, it’s all about you.

    Scott, darling, it’s all about you. But later my dear, after Portia and I tie the knot. And I know I’m not going to be the bitch 90% if the time, so if it’s you, fine.

    And kd, hop on in here at any time.

  15. well, back to the idear of platonic friendships–i’m not sure whom you’re referring to or what April Fool’s prank in particular. i think though, it’s only human to wonder is it real, or is it all a show? i’ve often wondered. just quick little things, but then i push it all out of my mind. i like to trust people. i want people to be real. through the net i’ve made friends. not emailed acquaintances or through comments–but bona fide, real people who check up on me, hang out with me and play. people i can rely on for support, love, advice, etc. i’ve instantly clicked with people (as mentioned in previous comments.) to me, it’s as real as it’s gonna get. i don’t put on a show…i don’t pretend to be someone else. i hope the others i believe in and trust in do the same. i was there for the whole Kaycee thing, and it hurt… i really believed she was dying of cancer, etc. i cried about it, over this fictional person, because i thought and felt she was real. so i was duped. i admit it, i was a fool. but you know, as Shakespear said, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

    i’ll continue to go on believing in the people i meet, making friendships, and trusting in these friends. i think that with every good thing, along comes the bad. you’ve just got to weed it out and move on.

  16. aha! better to have loved and lost. very true. i’d rather not let the cynicism take over and rob me of the opportunities to trust and to connect.

    and i also think that kaycee nicole was a fluke. i have met a few bloggers, and i know many others that have been getting together recently (it’s the natural progression — meet on the web, meet IRL) and there are no big shockers — we’re all pretty much as we are here in our blogs.

    – – –

    and, jadedju? in this case, i’m just having lots of fun watching you guys. you’re fun.

  17. If I were sane (and we all know that I am not) I would simply wash my hands of jadedju and portia. I would drive my 1967 Silver Chevy Speculum out to California and sweep kd off her feet, make mad, passionate love to her on the beach in Ensendada and possibly call her the following morning.

    I’m so smitten with jadedju and portia and kd. Can’t we all just get a quaint victorian in the Castro? I’m a terrific cook and am willing to wear a uniform of lycra lederhosen.

  18. we need to form a commune. all of us. it would be so …. wacky.

    Eric? would YOU wear lycra lederhosen? if not, it’s cool, i think one lederhosen wearin’ cook will be quite sufficient.

    chevy speculum — i almost fell off my chair.

  19. yes, i like come too. i make some come too. yes.

    do all you know why my name “raul” not “raoul”? is i to understand it same in english? is “raul” as “paul” or as “raoul”?

    come on, you fuckers named me. i’m confused.

  20. it’s pronounced raoul. you’re the one that decided to drop the “o”. remember? that night we were e-tabbing and you said the “o” was implied in your entire being?

  21. Too much “The Matrix” maybe…

    …and a touch of ‘Kaycee’ here and there doesn’t help.

    But as to the reality of the friendships? I have no doubt at all.

  22. If you are chopped liver, that’s ok with me, but as I am now a vegan (thanks to Portia’s relentless browbeating 😉 I’m afraid I cannot eat you.

    Regardless, now that I have stumbled upon your marvelous blog, I am linking you. I suggest you optimize your server configs to handle the 5, er… 3 hits that you will be getting.

    BTW, I am still waiting for some one to rouge my fucking nipples!!!!!

  23. I don’t have any doubts that the friendships CAN be real (and I’m certain I have a few) but the immediacy? That gets under my skin a little. I don’t warm up to people that fast in person, so I’m always taken a bit aback by people who are suddenly claiming ‘friendship’ with me on the basis of 3 emails and 2 comments. The hell? The worst are people who simply haven’t had that much interaction with me, but who, after a flame war let’s say, are suddenly like ‘I hope I don’t lose your friendship over this!’ Uh, dude. You didn’t have my friendship YET to begin with, y’know?

    And don’t get me started on the immediacy of internet dating services. One witty turn of phrase and a pic with good lighting, and trust me, you can inspire some weird shit involving the ‘m’ word. I haven’t even gone on a date, a y’all already know that I’m in the running to be ‘the one’? Aaaackk!

    Of course, that’s the way I operate — I don’t assume that everyone is as slow to warm to situations/people as I can be. But I also don’t much dig the idea that there are folks out there who think I’m a bitch for not being immediate about where I give my loyalty.

  24. no arguements from me on that aspect — but there are people i’ve ‘known’ online for a relatively short period of time, that i know better than i know, say, people i’ve worked with for two and a half years. and part of that is deliberate, it’s never been wise to let people i work with know details about my personal life. and i don’t have the time to cultivate friends outside work, and i have the internet.

    i have been socially impaired my whole life. i guess that adds to the fact i’m so taken with this medium of communication.

    i have no comment on online dating services, but it sounds really scary.

  25. kd, I still get waggled eyebrows when I speak of “you people” as real people, people I’d like to get to know IRL, people whom I hope to meet in Vegas. I just waggle my eyebrows back and smile. VR vs RL friends???? Well, I’d like to think I have some of both –

    both types of friends are important to have – there are times when I simply need to vent and let it all out without fear of repercussions – that is journal time. Then there are times when I need a hand to hold or someone to look into my eyes and that is when I seek out the RL version.

    What is that definition of “friend”? Someone you just haven’t met yet, or something like that.

  26. right — a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet. i know what you mean.

    and i think this is just us all adjusting to the newness of the medium. there’s been such a rapid growth in blogging, and a corresponding surge in internet friendships, and this is just… different.

    oh, i’m so looking forward to vegas. vegas is the answer to all this “is it real” stuff, at least part of the answer.

  27. touch, touch, touch . . . yup youse is real and so is i. heh!

    actually, I have already tested the medium a bit – last year I went to CA to a Women On Wheels? rally and shared a room for a week with someone who had been an online friend for a couple of years. We had never met – we set up ground rules (if I get on your nerves, walk away – if you get on my nerves, I’ll walk away) and built in some alone time for both of us. It worked out really well.

    people at “home” still shake their heads, but that is THEIR problem.

    After all, the Velveteen Rabbit was real, huh? >..

  28. well, there was that whole thing about people posing as others in chatrooms, and our moms all told us the internet was evil.

    blogging is different. you take the abberation of a debbie swanson/kaycee nicole as just that, a fluke, and realize the rest of us are putting our real selves online, slightly edited, month after month.

    the bloggers i’ve met so far correspond quite closely with their online presence. other mini-meets have reported similar findings. anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly points to — THIS IS REAL. i’m so glad of that, i can’t even tell you.

  29. just like irl, i have friends here and i have acquaintances. you, kd, are my friend. the people at ‘home’ shaking their heads at me are NOT my friends, and never were.

  30. I’ve been thinking about the intimacy part a lot lately (the stuff about “what’s real”, oh, the hell with it. Rent a sense of humor, I say.)

    But the realness of a connection. That part I am less sure about. I feel something real with folks, but it is not the way I feel when I am sitting across from my best friend, telling him why my day was challenging, and he understands and communicates that with a touch or a smile.

    Yet, I have felt touched and understood by some folks here, and I most certainly would say that you are one of those folks. I think lately though I am aware of feeling a lack of intimacy in general in my life, and having so much of my life take place on line doesn’t feel as though it fixes that, although it certainly isn’t the cause of it.

  31. Now I feel like I’m late to the party! damn. Now I don’t know what to say… got lost in Scott and Raul and jj and portia…. poopie.

    I love you guys! xoxo

  32. We prefer the phrase “clothing optional”. If you want to commune in your birthday suit, knock yourself out!

    In fact, I’m nude right now =)

  33. We prefer the phrase “clothing optional”. If you want to commune in your birthday suit, knock yourself out!

    In fact, I’m nude right now =)

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