I’ve noticed lately that I’ve become somewhat of a hermit in the eyes of my non-digital friends. My ‘in real life’ (IRL) peeps. I wonder if this is detrimental or if its only made to feel that way by those who just dont get the benefit of virtual friendships.
Dont get me wrong: I’m by no means sitting home all day every weekend chatting or xboxing with people across the globe as my main point of human contact. I still go out on the weekends. I still catch the occasional post work drink with coworkers both past and present. I’m still entertaining in my home and meeting people offline in the dating world.
If you’re like me, you know a large number of people online that you may have never met. Not yet, or maybe, not ever. Does that make these relationships less real? Are they one dimensional? Are they just ‘pretend’ or ‘play’ friends? I’d argue not. But some people may have you thinking of yourself as Sandie Bullock’s character in ‘The Net’. Kinda sad. Too much food delivery and not enough interaction. But that was the 90’s and now these types of relationships proliferate and people need to update their judgements.
Some of my online peeps are more involved in my life than some friends I live close to. Some comment more on my virtual existence which bleeds into my ‘real’ life (blogs, Twitter, Facebook pics and posts, etc.). Lately, I’ve spent more time Tweeting TV shows, football games and social outings with online peeps that they’ve become my main base of contact. But here’s why: I have the ability to always be connected. Sad as that may sound, with the cold, harsh winter taking its toll on my outings with friends, and my recent lukewarm feelings for phone conversations, Tweeting/Facebooking/Texting have become the norm even with IRL peeps.
My argument is that I’m more connected to people than ever. Just because I’m not face-to-face doesnt mean that my interactions are any less fulfilling. I know more now about more people than ever before because I can be updated in real time. I can comment on things that I may not normally have known or be told because they get caught up in the minutia of every day life. I’d argue that I feel closer to more people with minimal effort. I’d ask my non-connected friends why they arent?
So: what is ‘real life’? How do you feel about your digital existence?