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The Blurry Line between Real Life and the Interweb

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posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 08:51 AM
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I'm not sure if this is a rant or just an observation, probably some of both, but here goes. Be patient it might take me awhile and I may wonder a bit. Some of this post is based on what I have seen during my years on the internet and some is from personal experience. Which is which may be obvious but if not don't ask, I'm not telling.

As the internet has exploded with forums of all kinds people are finding more interesting ways to meet and make friends..and not friends. The forums get people together based on similar interests or wanting to learn and explore new topics. The forums become communities as they grow, with different areas attracting different groups of members. They 'hang out' in the threads they are most drawn too and in these threads they start to get to know other members even feeling a bit like 'families'

People communicate in these threads and learn the styles of the other posters. As they develop relationships other forms of contact start, U2U's and emails to 'talk' off the boards and then perhaps instant messaging with MSN, AIM or any number of other similar systems. The instant messaging is more 'real' as the conversation flows as a face to face chat would. It is often easy to get to know someone this way as it is easier, at least for me, in the beginning to talk openly when you don't have to look into the face, eyes of the other person.

These chats can be very telling as time passes. Sometimes the differences become obvious and the friendship fades away and sometimes a real connection is made and fast friendships are formed. Of course caution is required in these initial stages. Is this other person who they say they are? We have all heard internet horror stories on the news and from friends. Most I know have been lucky enough to avoid these disasters.

In my experience I have made many great friends, I have met a lot in person with wonderful success and some I have met only to have the contact fade a bit due to distance and time zones. There are friends I will never meet but the relationships are still dear to me as we share our daily lives via the forums we met on, skype, or other types of instant messaging. Christmas cards are exchanged, presents shared and life long contacts are sure to be sustained. Like a lot of friends in real life, daily contact isn't needed and when we talk it is like we have never stopped.

As in any real life relationship these friendships can go bad in various ways. Misunderstandings can happen since it is sometimes hard to interpret someones true intentions when you can't hear the inflection of their voice or see the expression on someones face. Most computers have cameras on them now but for the most part these aren't used in my experience. Disagreements can take longer to 'fix' my merely typing to one another, and sometimes there is no mending.

Besides girl friends (I am a woman just for reference) more intimate relationships can be formed over the internet. These often start with casual chat in the forum and progress to emails etc or instant messaging. Common interests keep things moving along and flirting, and innuendo work it's way into the conversations. There are instances when this goes 'further' often to the surprise to one or both people. There are countless times these have become permanent relationships, I am sure we all know some. How those first person to person contacts fair may be awkward or the connection is just solidified by the face to face meeting.

We have all heard of stories of 'cyber sex' and how exciting it can be. Playing over the internet with no direct contact and the ability to walk away without ever meeting. How these play out I would think would be like any other cyber relationship, sometimes they work sometimes they don't. Again without the eye contact would it not be easier to 'go your own way'. Without the eye contact would it not be easier to start up a playful relationship to begin with? Real life ties don't get in the way if the frolic is all about fun? No permanency wanted or needed.

All these different encounters, I am sure I am missing some, can be wonderful and meaningful and as in any '3D' friendship how it progresses or ends takes two. The words on the screen can be read one way by one and a different way by the other. Explanations may be necessary as well. What some see as mean spirited may not be and as in real life it takes time to learn each others 'ways'.

Regardless of the type of friends we have all made on the internet, care is needed and thoughtfulness and tact are required. I know I have been misunderstood quite a few times by various on line friends. On lines relationships are tricky at best and since started over the air waves and across oceans and borders, development is not as with day to day friends.

One of my favorite things about on line friends is there is no need to clean the house or perhaps you are having a bad hair day, so what. If you don't feel like talking you can pretend you aren't around, set the messenger on 'away', forget to check your email or just log off.

Anyway that is how I see it and have seen it. I would be interested in your thoughts on the subject. How has that blurry line of real life and the internet played out in your life? What do you do when you find out that great friend you have made lives thousands of miles away or perhaps isn't who you thought they were? Have you met up with any online friends? Was it a success... I know for a fact it can be very rewarding and not so rewarding... as is life... the blurry line just gets blurrier as the internet plays a bigger part in all our lives.




posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 11:19 AM
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reply to post by Blogstalker
 


Very interesting post

I think for many people here that cyber world is possibly the preferred world in a way ??
You meet so many amazin people and do strike up lasting friendships with some.
You can discuss things with them that are your deepest thoughts and secrets.
It defo is a family in a way--albeit a virtual family.!!
You care about your friends here, just as you do in the " real world "

And as you say, sometimes the two worlds will come together--people meet and really hit it off.
I personally, would only meet up with one person I've met on here.
I think you just feel that connection somehow ??



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 10:12 PM
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Very well written blog.

For me personally I have enjoyed getting to know so many great people online.

But....the ones that I'm closest to, I want to see them and I want to interact with them without a computer between us. And that, for me, is tough and heartbreaking at times. But that's the price we pay huh?

However, I do plan to meet one day all of those friends that I have become closest to..........I have to and am diligent and patient. I've met one of my closest online friends and it was awesome and I feel validating for our friendship.

While some are perfectly content and happy to never ever meet those that they become close to but I'm def. not one of them.

Great thread btw!!!!

Rush



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 11:05 PM
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I think part of the problem with the 'blurring' is that that 'interweb' allows for an alternate reality. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have a (growing) problem with making the distinction between their boring/painful/demeaning real life and their web-based existence.

We have all encountered, at some point, the 'internet-tough-guy' or the 'tragedy vampire'. These are people that can live out a fantasy life to avoid the reality of what they really are. They use the web to create an entirely hologramatic lifestyle to avoid real life.

Maybe it's a form of catharsis and therapeutic, but I think a lot of times it's just an avoidance tactic. The web can make it too easy for some people to conveniently dodge their real-life problems; like the fact that they weigh 600 lbs. or haven't bathed in weeks. No, we just know them as an ultra-powerful, level 300 wizard that looks like Aston Kutcher - because that's what they want to tell us on the web. But is that alternate reality actually hurting them in the end? Is it allowing them to actually avoid the pain of examining - and therefore healing - what is really wrong with them and become a better person?

The interweb is like booze: for some, it's an occasional tool to relax and enhance the fun. For others, it's a way to avoid reality.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 11:32 PM
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I have met and dated people I've met online.

The last man I met I fell in love with and we've lived together about 4 years.

The internet dating sites are the new meeting places. It's much better than being half drunk in a bar meeting future dates.



posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 03:36 AM
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This is the nature of free and open communication.

New in town. Go regularly to a local pub. Meet people who also go regularly and ergo people who you have things in common with, etc..



posted on Aug, 3 2009 @ 02:12 PM
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I am sure some use the internet as escape from real life and that sounds sad but I suppose it is better than no life at all.

A healthy balance would make the most sense... as for the good and the bad, I have great RL friends and internet friends... and I know a few RL trolls as well.



posted on Aug, 3 2009 @ 06:17 PM
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I agree with others, alot of people hang out online to avoid RL

I know I do!

Not that I dont like RL I just find the net interesting, and it can take my mind off my mind so to speak

I've met peeps in RL having met them online first...and have had a couple of relationships that didnt work out but that's no different that any other relationship I've had that hasn't worked out

It can get a bit sad in that you can make friends that live on the other side of the world and know you probably wont ever get to meet them in RL...but thats part of the parcel I suppose..

More and more people live in cyberworld and its as real as RL to them...it's real to me anyway..like someone else said you can tell if youre gonna hit it off with someone online....



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 11:03 AM
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I have certainly used the net to avoid real life..but mostly chores and the like. lol
Nothing like a good dose of fantasy too once in awhile.



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 04:42 PM
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hahaha yeah buggar the chores that washing up can just wait


edit spell error

[edit on 4-8-2009 by lifecitizen]



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 05:39 PM
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Met my gal on a forum (related to anime)

she's beautiful, perky, loving, intelligent, fun

been together 8 years, married for 7 as of Aug 19

-Kyo



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 05:48 PM
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Originally posted by lifecitizen
like someone else said you can tell if youre gonna hit it off with someone online....


Unless they are lying...which happens alot online sadly

-Kyo



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:03 PM
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Yeah people lie online that's true but the two guys I met online and went out with were who they said they were


But I wouldnt start a RL relationship with someone that doesnt live in Australia, I would be too scared they could be lying about who they are and I wouldnt be willing to go somewhere where I dont know my way around and risk being stood up or worse finding out they're really some loony tune

Congrats Kyo, good for you guys



posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 06:13 PM
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Originally posted by KyoZero

Originally posted by lifecitizen
like someone else said you can tell if youre gonna hit it off with someone online....


Unless they are lying...which happens alot online sadly

-Kyo


You must have been lied to in RL as well, but seems easier on line I suppose. I tend to be an open book either "life"



posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 06:04 AM
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reply to post by Blogstalker
 


It IS easier online...an of course I have been lied to IRL, I am not so sure I anyone hasn't in their lifetime. It is so much easier to lie online when you aren't facing someone. It could be little or huge...you never know. I could easily craft a false life on here. Heck I am willing to bet at least a few hundred people on here are BSing parts or the whole of their life on ATS. That's why it get's difficult. I can tell you what I did in the AF, or my job, or my personal life but when it comes down to faith. People are either telling the truth or not and I suppose it is up to the reader to decide what to believe.

Now I am telling the truth about having a wife...but how do you honestly know that?

Ah well...either way...the line between net/life is most certainly blurry

-Kyo



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 06:21 AM
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reply to post by Blogstalker
 


This whole thread doesn't sound like a rant to me....

To me, RL and Online friends isn't a blurry line. I have as much friends IRL as Online and that is very few
I select my friends very carefully online as IRL...

My closest friends IRL concern ourselves with interstellar travel and my friends online, are similar with the added twist of 'free energy'. There was rarely any misunderstandings in our group, IRL and online.

I guess people with very unique ideas coming together tend to be closely-knit. Not meaning to boast or anything as I suck in most other areas of my life!



posted on Aug, 7 2009 @ 07:51 AM
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reply to post by ahnggk
 


Interesting point, and I have to say the blurriness gets clearer all the time. Some of my best friends I have met on line. I find these friend I have the most in common with as we met on forums in which we share interests.

RL friends tend to be "older" friends that I share a history with...all the friends, RL and online all serve different places, for lack of a better word, in my life. As I meet the online friend in person the blur goes away.

Admittedly rarely do the two interact, since my RL friends don't always understand the "online life" but those that know me are beginning to



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 01:25 PM
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Cleared up more of that blurry line by visiting a far away-ish cyber friend last weekend. Met them here as a matter of fact. It was a great time.

I have to admit some of my cyber friends, I want to keep them that way but the ones I have met have been a real joy.

Now if only the plane fares would come down some more we could get more real time....

In most cases, not always as in RL, the cyber world is a way to cull the jerks from the genuine.... just sayin.



posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:35 AM
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Just wanted to add, beware trolls they lurk EVERYWHERE


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