Good news: I am working on a book to be published! I am submitting a manuscript on February 2nd, 2016. The book will contain essays I’ve written here on my blog, as well as essay “vignettes” of specific times in my life. Last year, I spent a good three months writing a memoir, which I never finished. But it seems good this way, because I can just use parts of the memoir as, like I said, “vignettes.”
It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging for a full year now. My goal, when going into this, was to try and make a difference in the world. I wrote, because I wanted to be heard by society at large. I wanted to even become famous, or be a “big deal.”
From then until now, my motivation has changed somewhat. I realize that there are tons of people like me on the internet, and that there are tons of blogs out there. Only a few people read my blog. But from these few people, I have received overwhelming positive responses. I’ve now learned that it is not about the quantity of people I reach, but the quality of those who I do.
I also think that… the internet is a big ocean, and people get lost in it. I remember when I came back from college, and had no friends. I went online to try and find people to fill that void within me. I made a lot of faux pas, but I also befriended people along the way. In this process… my communicative skills through writing dramatically improved. And I learned, that the more eloquent and florid I am through my writing, the kinder I come across to people online. I’ve realized that spelling and complete sentences, make a person feel like they are actually cared about.
It’s strange. In this process, I discovered that I am a good writer. But it’s gotten to the point, that I think I come across better online than I do in person. In person, perhaps I am intimidating. I am tall, with glasses and brunette-dyed hair, and I am fairly soft-spoken. I normally wear a quizzical face as well, as if I am summing up the situation around me. I rarely find jokes and humor in things, so I don’t smile too often. I also give off an intense vibe. When I do speak, I come across as intelligent, which draws good people my way, but rarely are men interested in me romantically.
Online, I feel much more comfortable. The only things that people can use to assess me and who I am, are as follows:
- My photos on Facebook
- Whatever writings I compose and put online. This would include my Facebook statuses, my tweets, and what I write in this blog. People also have emails that I have sent in their mailboxes as well.
- Videos I put on YouTube, a rare occurrence.
- My LinkedIn profile, if anyone cares to read this.
- Random adolescent photos from my past that crop up on a Google Image search.
- Old articles with my name, that crop up on a standard Google search.
When tallying up these elements, I realize that my online persona is much more friendly and inviting. I put up photos where I am smiling and socializing. Also, older photos show me to look unhappier and heavier, so my “progress” with mental health wellness is tangibly seen. My writing is eloquent, and expresses a sense of openness and caring that is not conveyed when people see me in person. Items 3-6 perhaps influence a bit, but I see them as mostly irrelevant, as they are not readily accessed unless a person specifically makes a stalker-ish effort to learn about me.
This phenomenon of one’s “real-life” persona not matching up with their online persona does not only affect me, I’ve learned. There is one friend I know in particular, whom I have chatted with on many an occasion online. We have Skyped as well, and the person seemed friendly enough. But when seeing one another in the flesh, I realized that he had a completely different aura from what I expected. There were also behaviors and mannerisms that I had not picked up on through the internet.
I think people talk about this occurrence more than they realize, albeit circuitously. Those who are older than the current adolescent/young adult generation, lament that the quality of person-to-person contact has degenerated. Many people prefer texting to talking on the phone these days, and no matter where you go… if there are people, then there are smart phones and thumbs tapping away, with no one looking away from their screens. If you put earbuds in this equation, the person truly becomes a lonely island.
And there you have it. People criticize this occurrence because it creates loneliness.
I guess I’m one of the young-minded people, in the sense that I think there are many positives to online communication. I can meet people from all over the world, and have such be my best friends. I have a few people in Germany and Tunisia that fit this bill. And in the States, or even within New York City, I have friends I’ve never met in person. So many of these people, I feel I know better than my acquaintances in waking life.
What makes it work for me? Like I said, I make an effort to write with eloquence. It is akin to writing a letter to someone you care about. I think… when I write, people can tell I care. So they respond well.
Also, one awesome thing about the internet, is that you can talk to people at whatever hour you want! If they’re online, you can send a message. It’s their prerogative to ignore it if they’re busy or tired. But that whole social code of “not calling past 9 PM?” Gone! I love it!
One of my dreams, is to share my successes with forging meaningful online friendships with the world at large. I’ve learned, that whenever I meet a new person online, I put them through the “Facebook” ringer. On Facebook, I socialize with many of my friends in a certain, friendly way. If this new stranger is unable to socialize with me as I do with my actual friends, then that person is not suitable for me. Also, I refuse to date someone romantically that I have not known for a while. Again, the “Facebook” ringer. If a newbie comments on my postings in a way that causes the rest of my friends to feel uncomfortable, then that person is not for me.
Much is said about the evils of the internet. While the younger generation enjoys the internet in a meaningful way, they are perhaps not old enough to express their preference intelligently. (And many say that they will never become intelligent because of the internet, although that is another topic.)
Instead of knocking the ways of younger people, let’s see eye to eye with them, and offer an exchange: we can learn how to utilize the internet more meaningfully, and they can learn about our older ways of person-to-person contact that they have never experienced themselves. If we want the future to be positive and diplomatic, then we must exercise this tendency in our waking lives TODAY.