A lot of my adult life has been lived online, starting back when "online" was a fast, fast 2400-baud modem and FidoNet was the ticket for mass connectivity. I met my last two boyfriends online, including Mr. Ex, along with just about all of the people I have dated socially and most of my friends.
In meatspace, I'm paralyzingly shy at first acquaintance, only too aware of my checkered past as a 19-year-old runaway, college drop-out, near-loss of amateur status anent alcohol consumption and so on and so forth, my teenaged-self image of being too tall, too plain, geekily unstylish and wearing eyeglasses thick as the bottoms of pop bottles looming over the actual reality of contact lenses and not looking, if I do say so, all that bad. If there's some task at hand -- fixing electronics, learning about anything from sewing to shooting, I'm fine. Otherwise, around new people I tend to say little and stay close to the walls and exits. Oh, I'm better now (I'm all growed up!) but get me far enough out my depth and I still sometimes mumble and fumble after words. Not a pretty thing. Small wonder the first few jobs of my misspent youth were ones in which the interaction was mostly one-way and very well-controlled, jobs where the feedback from customers was mostly positive. Put a keyboard in front of me and I have got words; add a screen and I'm only too happy to read what you've got to say; once I know you, I don't freeze up in RL when we meet, either.
So when Tam posted about the very personal connectedness of people on the 'net, it hit close to home. Carteach0's post and Dr. Helen's aided my understanding.
Times I've lost access, times I've had major e-mail issues, I've felt pretty lost. I have my books and my cats and they're very fine comfort but they're not people!
Without the human-scaled portions of teh.n3t, I'd hardly have a social life at all. So thanks for bein' there. Thanks for wanting to talk about your stuff so much you built a place where others could come chat, too! Um, don't go 'way, please? Okay?
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
4 months ago