Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm Livin' In Your Monitor

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?


breda said...

Hm...the 2A BlogBash should be interesting. All these somewhat shy geeky girls, all waiting for someone else to say the first word?

Carteach said...

I was kinda surprised at the results of my blog-whine. Turns out a lot of folks are in the same boat. Funny how that works...

I have 'met' so many good people on-line, compared to the number I run into in meat world. It just feels.... empty kinda... when the connection goes away. Like a big blank spot just appeared in the room.

So.... how is we can get to know someone very well just by reading some posts in a blog, yet know breathing bodies for years without ever 'knowing' them?

Roberta X said...

'Cos they never feel free to speak openly, perhaps. In RL, we tend to censor ourselves. There's also a lot of interrputing. FtF is an art few ever really master -- and it takes more than one to make a go of it.

Who's got a fix for that?

Why's the blogiverse so much less contentious than BBSes?

Is it because we've each got our own little plot of bandwidth? Maybe.

Roberta X said...

PS: Breda, we'll have one another for support. Er'll be loud. Um, loudish. OH, we'll be heard.

Roberta X said...

...And then I read what Babs had to say in the Comment thread over at Tam's and it makes want to burn this blog to the ground, change my name, sell my house and sneak away in the night.

...'Cos I don't do "freaky" at all well. I've mentioned elsewhere that under severe stress, my adrenaline reactions are intense? Total hyperfocus and very short-term judgemental baseline. It's not just stalkers and what they might try to do that frets me, it's how I might react.

Eeeee. Lots to think about.

breda said...

Roberta - if someone is so stupid to stalk a well-armed woman perhaps they should be taken out of the gene pool. Just sayin'.

So, um...allow me to quote a wise, intelligent, funny woman:
"Um, don't go 'way, please? Okay?"

Roberta X said...

You're right -- I was feelin' all warm and fuzzy and Babs opened the door for a sec. Still a howling moral blizzard out there, isn't it? --And that's the Big World we all live in and have been living in all along; I already knew it but I needed to be reminded. I've cowgirled up.

Mike W. said...

I think that some of us are far more adept at expressing ourselves through writing than through speech. Real world interaction is more personal, adding nervousness and apprehension into the equation.

Like you said, I think we censor ourselves. I think that's mostly a defense mechanism to avoid being embarrassed or hurt. Then once we "break the ice" we reach a certain comfort level and open up. I also think that when you meet someone with whom you've interacted online both parties have an idea of what to expect, so the initial interaction is a bit less awkward than what you'd have with a complete stranger.