Boo there Stranger!
The Internet is simply the strangest place. I’m not even sure it can constitute as a “place” - isn’t it simply a bunch of codes translated onto words or pixels on a screen? I suppose in a way though we are a bunch of atoms ‘translated’ onto ‘screens’ as well. What I find hardest to understand is our translation of The Internet as real, a reality. In fact, I am certain that most of us - especially you reading this post - spend more time in front of screens than in front of ‘realreal’ (in the form of atoms and molecules and cells type of real) people. Which I guess is more ‘real’ than the internet because the internet supposedly channels that type reality.
Now the Internet is odder than you think. Thousands of ‘reareal’ people share and live through these screens. Bloggers dedicate a portion of their lives (and often make a living) to sharing posts about their personal lives, or part of their personal lives, to complete strangers. These complete strangers are free to “follow” or “subscribe” to the lives of these bloggers. To the reader a blogger becomes ‘realreal’. The blogger becomes an idea, a persona and sometimes a fantasy. In a striking way blogging is like porn; or rather bloggers can be compared to porn actors. What I mean by this is that through the shield of anonymity individuals get to see (or read) the most intimate and deepest parts of a stranger’s life: their passions, their fantasies, their desires, their fears, their soft spots and sometimes random ameature dull ‘routines’. These are intended to be displayed to us - their stranger. Suddenly the ‘realreal’ (or rather what we think is) is not intimidating anymore: it is given to us, for free on a screen.
Now look, I’m not here to advocate against porn (that was just a metaphorical way of explaining the concept of blogging) and I’m not here to advocate against over sharing on the internet, in fact I’m an avid reader of some “exciting” blogging lives myself. What I am trying to get at here, is a philosophy that is completely different.
But first listen to a little story, or rather a ponder I had the other day:
As the door to the tram opened four stops (it might have been five), before I was to get off, an odd looking lady of about 26-27 hopped on. It was not that she looked conventionally ugly or pretty or sexy or dull, she just looked very mysterious (?) or nonchalant (?) or alien (?) - The question marks are intended to underline the fact that I cannot find the right word to describe her air- (actually I do not think anyone’s air can be described with a word). But anyways, the way she looked does not really matter to the story: what matters what that I was extremely interested by her. By that, I do not mean in the romantic or lustful way you might be towards attractive strangers- besides I was never into women anyways. It was an interest of that genuine human to human- stranger to stranger- type of way: The way we are on the internet when we search for someone or read someone’s blog. It’s that rare interest one takes in a complete stranger- an interest which has no personal advantageous to you - but simply a genuine altruistic curiosity- That type of interest that the Internet sparks and satisfies so easily.
When you are reading someone’s blog, the effort of ‘small talk’ or time to get to the interesting and the dirt that exists in the ‘reareal’ world, is eliminated. Besides, it is completely unnecessary: you are always shielded with Mr. or Ms. Anonymous.
What I want to understand is:
Why is the gap between our disclosure and avid interest so fucking big between the ‘life of the screen’ and the ‘realreal’ life?
Look, personal blogging and the internet will forever remain important- they break us out of the ego and self orientated air- HOWEVER, why is it that we are so free to read about others and are not afraid to ask silly or rude questions on here, yet are extremely intimidated to do so in the ‘realreal’ place towards a stranger? The type of genuine interest and honesty that the Internet has created is crucial: we need to find a way to incorporate it into our own lives.