Monday, May 08, 2006

Reality check

What is real life?

I had come to view my online life and my offline life as two very different experiences. Although Ive been online for years, it's only in the past couple that I have developed dialogue with other users. In many ways some of my on line relationships are deeper than my offline ones, I know intimate details, intimate feelings. I have watched dramas unfold over months. However, the way in which I've visualised these online relationships is more along the lines of a book. Not real people, but characters or even charicatures.

I've been pretty honest in most of what I've posted. There are some embellishments and some small untruths, but none that I would be embarassed about if an offline friend logged on and read what I'd written and in fact I have a few offline friends who I know read this (Squills, post something if you read this and prove this is true, stop freaking me out every time I see you by saying, oo i didn't know that. How was the honeymoon by the way?). However, for some reason when I've read other blogs and posts on the messageboards, I've never really considered that what is written there was also true, it's more a development of a character as I've built it in my mind.

This perception has been completly sideswiped in the past few weeks. I've read quite a few admissions or real life nervousness, that has made me completely revise my opinions of how and what I should post. I guess what it's made me think is that i should be more honest in my responses and reactions to others' postings. Sometimes banter, or off the cuff witicisms isn't appropriate so from here on in I'll be thinking a lot more carefully before posting anything.

Thank you for those who have clicked on and added your thoughts to my blog and I'd like to make a back-dated apology for not treating these posts with the respect they deserve and making any inappropriate postings on your blogs, or in fact responses to board postings.


Lucy said...

Ok, erm, What?
Whats happened?

Gavin Corder said...

Blimey Six. As far as I'm concerned you've always treated everything I've posted with the respect (or lack of it) that it deserves. Nothing to apologise for over here old chap.

While I tend to moan theatrically about my Evil Daughter in what I hope to be a mildly amusing way, it is true that I am worried sick about her. I find it's a bit of a release valve.

So cheer up mate if you can. Or have a jolly good moan, if you want to. I've replied to you about kids on Span's blog.

Six Years Late said...

Thank you Gavin. I'm not really feeling down thought, just a little bit knocked off kilter. I remember having similar episodes when I was a teenager when you'd troll along with one world view and then something significant would happen to alter that world view and shape you that little bit more, as you emerged in to adulthood.

Gavin Corder said...

I know what you mean I think. Sometimes I think friends online a real-er than real folk. Then I think I need to get a grip and I go and dirty my hands on the allotment or something. It's quite grounding.

When I was a kid I used to have profound thoughts about disconnection with reality. They passed with beer and the tiredness of raising a family and earning a crust. But this cyber thing almost replicates that dislocation.

Oh dear. I sound madder than usual.

oh well. :-)

Six Years Late said...

It doesn't sound mad Gavin, it's absolutely how I live my online life. In ultra reality. except things are starting to bleed in to one another. I've always been dead set against the idea of meeting my online friends, but I'm starting to think it may settle a few things in my mind.

Gavin Corder said...

I think you might be surprised how much cyber people do really care. In many ways it's easier because we know a lot but can shy away if we get embarassed.

In reality it's hard for blokes to "share" emotional stuff - women find it easy. But online it's much easier to download complex thoughts because you're not looking at the other bloke over a pint. It's just not pub etiquette. (You read "Watching the English" earlier this year didn't you?)

So in a way the on-line friendships are more valid than the offline....

Six Years Late said...

Yep, I'd agree with your first assesment. Although I'm a little more heart on my sleeve than a lot of blokes in real life. It's never elicited anything but a blokey cough from most of my friends though, but i've rarely let that stop me.

On the last point though, I think valid is the wrong word, maybe honest is a better one. Although that honesty can sometimes be given away a little too casually, maybe we should be more careful. Fuck i don't know. I think I'm jus thinking too deply.

'Keep it light, keep it light'

Lucy said...

Well Im quite shy on and offline so there is not a lot between them.
I can see how it might be easier for blokes to be more open, I really should get my husband on here it might do him a world of good!

Gavin Corder said...

Curiously enough whatever persona a cyber person has created, there really is a real person behind it. And a whole lot of real person will come through.

Amateur psychoanalysis time...

Six you are completely understandably worried about the magnitude of the undertaking that you have embarked upon. It's for life and there is no way out if you've got it wrong. At the moment it seems insurmountable, largely because you and Nic are totally exhausted.

Your angel son, the apple of your eye, is showing perfectly normal signs of sibling rivalry. You are worried because Eben was so happy and perfect before Louis' arrival.

You worry even more because you come from a very close family. You adore your younger brother, who is arguably more successful academically, slimmer and (guessing) better looking. But you acknowledge all of the above and adore your younger brother.

So you worry that Eben may not have either the love or magnamity for his little brother that you have for yours.

This causes you great anxiety because you are involuntarily comparing yourself (who is naturally unworthy) with your son who is (or was) perfect. And you do NOT want to have these thoughts!!!!

Eben will be just like you in time. He will ADORE Louis and probably spend half his life fighting battles for him.

Just ask your Mum how you were at first.

PS Lucy you are a necky prize fisher! ;-) (See my blog for explanation)

Span Ows said...

necky prize fisher??? I'm on my way! it doesn't sound shy!

Six, I too have answered with some thoughts on my blog, the gist of it is that you have no need to worry because you've already passed step one, the most have SHARED YOUR CONCERN. Too many people have lived their lives not doing so and so building up frustration/ aggression/ whatever until they've already discovered a safety valve.

You DO NOT need to worry about "having similar episodes when I was a teenager when you'd troll along with one world view and then something significant would happen to alter that world view and shape you that little bit more"...that's life! That's what makes us individuals and it is also why cloning will only ever be physical - the soul is developed by your experiences and your action/reaction to those experiences (Gavin did say we're getting deep here...or was that you?)...and it's unique.

Also don't worry about being open/heart on sleave etc...I have always been the may have noticed I say what I think be it to MN and his girlfriend or Augustus and his suicidal thoughts...I've always been that way to the point of crass rudeness (OK..don't go that far...) but why make out you're someone you're not...I've never understood it (not saying YOU here, just meaning in general)

Re your children - they will change you, your old life is over and the new Six is forming - don't fight it. One point though: any problems, feel free to share them - honest! You've seen already that it can help.

Gavin Corder said...

She is SHAMLESS Span! Perceptive. But Shameless.

Gavin Corder said...

Sleeve, Sleave, Sleaze...

Just thinking...

Kayfer Kettle said...

You are one of THE finest souls I have never met Six, and regardless of the fact that these are not friendships in the traditional sense, I see no reason why they should not be a source of intimacy, honesty or even therapy damn it!

I am extremely fond of some of the good people I have spoken to online, and by the same token, there are others I could gladly choke. I believe it's as valid and complex as any relationship in the flesh. As it's been mentioned in this post, they are indeed real people behind the words, regardless of what they are saying.

Long live t'internet!

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

I realised the other day that I have been online now for ten years! In that time I have experienced many online relationships, some that have developed into 'real life' relationships including the most important one, that of me and Mr Mags.

We 'met' online in an AOL chatroom nearly nine years ago now. I was instantly attracted to this wonderfully witty individual who appeared to have intelligence as well as wit. Gradually over several months we migrated to instant messages and eventually I made what was to become the most important telephone call of my life.

Geographically we were miles apart, me in London and he in Bristol but my those chats online, the emails and finally the telephone calls brought us so very close. When I finally set eyes upon him when he got on the train we had arranged to me on, at Bath station, I felt as though I had known him all my life.

The online relationship we had was as real as any other relationship I had ever had and meeting him just meant that we were desperate to be together geographically. It's been eight years now!

The funniest thing was that he had told me his age (15 years younger than me, bless, he's still in his 20's)but it was the one thing I didn't believe until I met him. The funny thing is that 15 year age gap has never mattered in real life just as it never mattered online.

I've always tried to be totally honest when online It pays in the long term.

squil said...

Hi Crispin,

Apologies for not posting something sooner, I keep putting it off. There are two reasons firstly whilst reading your blog, I have had a slight uncomfortable feeling in the back of mind that I’m doing something i shouldn't - like I’m sneaking into a friend’s bedroom and secretly reading his diary. Secondly, I’m not the most eloquent of writers!
In response to your question I have found your posting refeshingly honest and to the point (no surprises there - time and again I’ve told Carolyn or mole what a great conservationist you are, I couldn't say that to your face, not without a couple of beers and some back slapping bonhomie!!).
There hasn't been anything embarrassing or offensive as far as I can see. Its great forum for good discussion. I’ll stop freaking you out with the comments, now (sorry didn’t know I doing it!).
I take your point about the wider issue of banter and context - something playful can be sometimes misinterpreted. Most of the wonderful blog sites out there are honest and revealing, and include thoughts, which maybe don’t crop up in everyday conversations with friends. My little take on this - and I could be talking rubbish, is that this concept is a double edged sword, while prompting feelings of friendship and togetherness, it also can be a little upsetting when posts are misinterpreted or taken out of context and jokes are made etc. Though I’m sure the latter is rare and not experienced by everyone.
Your site is a well balanced one and some of the comments you get are fantastic, you’ve collected a lovely bunch of on line friends.
I just read the one about your mum, and I’m not afraid to admit this, I welled up. What a lovelly piece.

The world would be a better place if we all took abit of time out to put some words down on our lifes journey.

Six Years Late said...

Mr Squillidge,

Thank you mate. I promise I won't try and kiss you next time I see you.

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