6/21/11

On My Experience w/ Internet Presence

You miss the feeling of starting a blog, the excitement, the almost idyllic fear of creating a blog, of choosing that first template, picking out colors, adding and moving gadgets around in the design—before knowing anything about HTML alterations / customizations—, thinking about what to write for that very first blog post, filling the sidebar with links to your published work, emailing writers you like to ask if you can link to their blogs—hoping they reciprocate.

The excitement of that very first encouraging comment about your writing, the first time someone comments a second time, a third. The first second person to comment. The first third.

There’s maybe no better feeling than communicating with people who seem to share certain ideas about life, about writing and literature, particular worldviews, sense of humor, common interests you’ve failed to find with people you’ve met in real life.

There’s no better feeling than communicating with people you’ve never met, no better feeling than not having to communicate with people in real life.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, the people you once frequently communicated with online inevitably, for whatever reason, move on: They’ve lost interest in your writing, in your blog posts; your sense of humor and worldview are maybe not as compatible with theirs as they once seemed; they’ve found other writers in which they feel more interested or with whom they feel more of a connection. For whatever reason. You begin to realize, people don’t change. People aren’t different just because you’ve never met them.

It’s inevitable that you and the people you’ve never met should eventually part ways. Ultimately, the internet feels like it's not really a place to truly connect with anyone, despite how much you want to believe it is. (Of course, you don’t really 'know' the people you’ve met in real life, either—yourself, for that matter.) Tenuous and ephemeral, you often feel social media serves only to further isolate you.

Still, despite your anxieties, your insecurities, you need to feel you’re connected to something, to someone, somehow. That you're connecting with other people without having to actually do it. You’re living vicariously through yourself. This may be why you search the internet for relationships with people you’ve never met. People just like you. This may be why it’s harder to let go of people you’ve never met. Sometimes people you’ve never met are all you have left.

9 comments:

Jason Jordan said...

I can relate.

richard chiem said...

"You’re living vicariously through yourself."

you are a master, Eric.

Eric Beeny said...

@Jason: Word...
@Richard: Thanks, bro...

danielromo said...

I follow you on Twitter, if that's any consolation.

Eric Beeny said...

@Daniel: Thanks for following me on twitter! Yes, it's a big consolation. Too, I'm just being overly dramatic...

Mel Bosworth said...

bones bones bones

Eric Beeny said...

@Bozzy: I know, I know...

Christopher said...

Really, I think you just related that online friendships function in much the same way as irl friendships.

You meet someone. There's excitement. You talk and talk, and 9 times out of 10, after a few months, you grow more distant, get involved in your own life more or less or get involved with other lives more or less. You become peripheral friends, who check in on each other ever so often, ask of each other: "How's life been?" "What are you writing/reading?" How's the wife/gf/bf/husband?" "How are the kids?" "Did you ever go on that bear hunting trip with your dad?"

People create such a huge divide between the way we interact online and the way interact irl. I don't think there's such a huge divide.

Eric Beeny said...

@Chris: Sorry, I just realized you commented here. You’re absolutely right, there really is no divide. The emotional elements share the same spectrum. That's why it's no easier to lose those relationships, or to feel like they're drifting apart for whatever reason...