Last night, in a conversation with someone I hope in time will become a good friend, I suggested that meat space interaction is far more difficult than existing in a virtual environment. She decided the opposite was true: easy to do things in real life and actually it’s the Internet that’s the scary place. After the last two days, I can see both sides of the fence.
I still think people in person are far more intimidating.
Many virtual people appear as toothless, flabby wonders. They think that their World is without reproach and largely untouchable, until disruptive influences come along and challenge the status quo. Then there’s a phenomenal amount of flapping and huffing, but none of it is nearly as stressful as actual people doing the same six inches from your face. That’s what matters most, after all. When you’re sick nobody notices unless you post a Status Update. You can pass away but unless someone else updates your existence online? Everyone else will think you just stopped playing the game. It sounds cruel, I know, but there are some vital distinctions to be made, that people forget.
I suspect that’s deliberate too.
I have many people I’m only friendly with virtually, and I’d like to think I treat them in EXACTLY the same way I interact with people in the Real World. That’s how it goes down, as it happens: nobody gets special attention, everybody is the same. The problem for many on-line is that they refuse to do this, or decide for whatever reason it’s more sensible to be a version of themselves. If you attempt to mirror only what you believe are the good things via an online persona? There’s always the chance that, at some point, you’ll make a mistake and your mask will slip. You’ll also be surprised at what gets revealed when you post without thinking. Mostly, you NEED to treat all interactions with people in exactly the same way. Nothing is less worthy of your time, after all, regardless of where you meet.
If you come to social media to escape the woes of the real world? One day, the opposite will be true, and eventually you may actually grasp that it isn’t other people that are the problem, and that you are the broken element in the equation. Of course, then you’ll have to try and repair yourself.
Trust me when I say, that’s going to take some work.