So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

17 July, 2007

Network Reality

Every so often I run into someone who figures that interactions on the 'net are somehow not genuine connections, or less real or meaningful than social connections conducted in the face-to-face world. Sometimes this is less overt, more, "Oh, these connections are missing so much of what we depend on to interact socially ..."

So a few funny things, for all this not real.

I'm apparently a social nexus. Which is funny for someone who finds dealing with people in that face-to-face world horribly stressful in the vast majority of cases. But I know and keep track of a lot of people fairly readily, and often if I don't have something handy I at least know who or where to ask. It's just easier for me to keep track of such things in the somewhat more pared-down form that is internet communication.

I've had romantic relationships start with people I met online. Some of which have gone really well. (One of which went badly, but everyone's entitled to at least one crazy ex.) I've moderated the difficulties of long-distance relationships with email, talk, and Livejournal.

I've kept track of friends and made friends in an extensive network of social connections. I've made connections that carried over into the face-to-face world through things that depended on the internet. I'm in touch with friends from high school because I found them on the internet. The more far-flung members of my social group for my brief stint in college are people I can keep track of through the internet.

I've been paid as a direct reaction to social ties I made on the internet. Once, for contributions for a book about baseball. This week, I have a contract in my mailbox waiting for me to have access to my working machine for a short essay contributing to a small-press book about wealth magic.

It's an epistolary reality, but that's still real.

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