Sorry about your friend, Heff. I send my heartfelt condolences.
This subject is one close to my heart though, and I had a short but interesting discussion on it with my oldest son.
He's just gotten into cyber communities, being part of forums on a regular basis, identifying with certain "clubs" as it were, that sometimes form in
this medium of communication. I've been doing it for almost twenty years, in contrast to his new experiences.
He is getting into what feels like intimate relationships with some people, and also some "violent" conflicts as well, that are taking bigger and
bigger proportions in his mind. I watch this affectionately, remembering my own pathway. I once cried for days when my "new best friend" and I got
into a fight, on the site we'd created together for our group that met on a forum. I laugh now, but I felt heartbroken at the time.
After a while I began to see that this medium has the potential for transference, and works something like Freudian psychotherapy - without seeing the
face and body of the other, or even hearing the tone of voice, we are left without the micro- cues to their state of being and emotion, their deeper
motivations and thoughts..... so we attach our own.
We make people out to be the various parts of ourselves we want to face and grapple with- the archetypes come alive! Our dragons emerge for us to
battle, with names such as "gigo5467", or "pinkladyCat".
Our mother or father step forward, to tell us all they REALLY thought, and never said outright before.
Our lost friends appear, just with a different name, our dream lovers hide behind words on a screen...
Very early on, I discussed with my stepfather the concept that this might be a very effective form of therapy! He was dubious (but of course he was-
this would threaten his career).
It became clear to me that the only way it could become really therapeutic is with the conscious awareness that that is the intent. While caught up in
the whirlwind dramas, we forget, but if we can even remind ourselves afterwards, "oh yeah, that was all me- I remember now". it could hold great
I found it can and does. But like any tool, it is all in how you use it.
With this intent in mind (personal evolution), I find that if a certain poster or post doesn't call to me anymore and provoke any response, it is
because I have dealt with it; I have digested that. But perhaps they haven't, they are working on something.
No worry, they'll find a playmate- someone who needs to work on those roles and emotions will be around shortly, and the play shall go on!
I told my son some of the communities he can find me on. I know that for my husband, my online persona was a source of much curiosity and he has
checked in to discover it in various places without telling me. My son scoffed at this activity before, but now he is questioning and curious.
I told him my handle and he was surprised- "but you've been using the same for years then!" (he'd seen me referred to as Bluesma fifteen years ago).
I explained that, I see that as a way of keeping my integrity. My history can be followed, with all the things I have said and done, good and bad. I
cannot escape responsibility for them- I cannot deny the changes I have been through, nor the mistakes I learned from.
I posed it to him as, "your reputation in the cyber world is just as important as in real life, if not more so." In this media, the exact words you
used are still available, so they can't be twisted intentionally or otherwise by others.
More importantly than what others can know about you, is what you must face about yourself. It is a matter of staying conscious of your pathway, of
where it has been, and how it has evolved.
I guess I am curious to see if his adventures in cyberland will be as constructive and beneficial as mine have been.
Like waving him with a tear in my eye, as he sets off in a ship to battle his dragons....