I've written about this before and probably will again, but it is a fascinating topic of discussion.
That being the discussion of who we are. Those of us that spend time on NewsVine and all the other news related websites. Those of us that blog and share our perspectives on various topics online.
I find it interesting to think that we are all a cross section of people from not just all across the United States, but all around the world. There are people blogging on this site at this moment on the most expensive, hot off the assembly line computers with all the bells and whistles money can buy, in a mansion in California somewhere. As well as someone on an antiquated, barely chugging along piece of crap of a computer in a double wide trailer home in Florida.
There is a wealthy professional worth millions in an expensive New York apartment, just as there is a laid back and unassuming guy in Colorado. A person bed-ridden in poor health somewhere in the South, and a college student in their dorm room. There is someone in France blogging their POV along with someone from England offering up their opinions. Black vs. White, young vs. old, rich vs. poor, sane vs. insane, etc. etc. etc. each adding to conversations that unite and divide us.
A couple of years ago I began blogging on a local site in my area of the country that speaks to women's issues and concerns. As is the case on almost all blog sites, you quickly get a sense of those you bond with from those that "don't get you" - it is the reality of blogging. There are those that you find you agree with more in life and those you are constantly at odds with. Much like high school, bloggers divide into "cliques" and groups. You hang together and comment on the same threads of conversation. You debate and commiserate over this topic or that. Sometimes deliberately but more often through serendipity.
On the website I speak of, I noticed two fellow bloggers that I was constantly interacting with. I am not someone that most people find themeselves agreeing with. My opinions do not fit into a narrow narrative, I am all over the place in terms of my beliefs. So what I have to say most of the time is at odds with others. Yet these two bloggers.....we are always sympatico. Almost always in agreement. And beyond the fact we agreed about issues, unlike most bloggers we do not hide when online. There is no fake username. There is no fake avatar, our photos are of what we actually look like. Who we are, what we do for a living, where we live is all real.
In this day and age of people taking comfort in the anonymous nature of the internet, those that attack others behind the veil of anonymity, we are just the opposite, up front and honest. This too was a reason for us to bond. We would joke that we are not 600 pound women living in squalor or hoarded households, pretending to be someone else online. We are not "Catfish" inspired women (as in the movie Catfish) No indeed, we are real. So for the longest time because we bond so well, we would make comments about taking our virtual friendship into the real world. Stepping out from behind the computer screen to see if we could be real friends instead of fake ones, which we have known ourselves to be.
This weekend we decided to spend the day together on Saturday into the evening. We had a fun day planned. I was excited, I love meeting new people. Yet there was a part of me that wondered would they be as kind in person as they are online? They were....in spades! Two of the most genuine, intelligent and lovely women I had ever met. We talked, laughed, enjoyed one another's company so much so we didn't want to say goodbye. And even though we are each very different, we are also very much the same. Our sensitivities and opinions, likes and dislikes, desires and fears.....all the same.
It left me wondering about the people we come across online. Who are we?
I had an incident in which I met a high ranking government official connected with our national security on a dating site one lazy Saturday evening once. We chatted online for hours before he asked if he could call me. The moment I heard his voice, I knew exactly who he was. A couple hours later when he felt more comfortable and probably because he let his guard down, he confirmed who he was. To this day it was the best conversation I have had with anyone in my entire life. No man or woman has come close to providing me with such a real and genuine conversation about life. We bonded over the phone in a manner that I have never felt before. No awkward pause, no periods of "what should we talk about now?" No, we spoke as if we had known each other our entire lives.
As we hung up the phone in the wee hours of the next morning, I knew it would be the last time we would speak. And it was. However that incident, just as with my new "real friends" I met online served as a lesson that you never know who is connected online, posting comments alongside your comments.
There are celebrities and well known men and women posting comments under the guise of fake persona's. There are people that may not be famous today but may be infamous tomorrow that also post comments. People that live in dark, dank basements that plot against our government, posting comments that seem a tad extreme, juxtaposed against comments from quiet and unassuming people that live in pristine communities with manicured lawns.
Who are you? Who am I?
It is all so fascinating when you think about it.