Saturday, June 9, 2007

E-Life v. "Real" Life

Does the blogosphere ever intersect with your "real" life?

I know this question has been asked, ad nauseum, all over the place, but I would like to hear your thoughts.

In the past ten years, has having an online life intersected with your corporeal life? More importantly, are those two lives just part of the whole? Are you the same person online as you are in flesh and blood, or do you have an online persona?

When you talk about your friends, are you talking about your online friends? Or is that something that you keep to yourself?

Do you keep your online life to yourself for fear of other people thinking that you are sort of strange for sharing things about yourself with people that you don't "know"?

I have had the privilege of belonging to a group of friends that, while not as tight as we once were, still keep up with each other enough to contact and visit with each other whenever we are in corresponding places in North America or Europe.

Tuesday, I had the honor of having lunch with one of my earliest online friends. Janet O, who sometimes comments at my blog. Janet O is from Michigan, and I hadn't seen her in two years. Fortunately for me, Janet has family in the DC area, and travels here from time to time.

On this trip, not only did she bring me the next item for "Shoot 'em Up Friday" (see yesterday's announcement), she also brought cookies! Not just any cookies, mind you, but the most incredibly tasty cookies that I have ever eaten.

NOTE: Your friend gunfighter likes to eat, in case you hadn't noticed.

Anyway, I met Janet for lunch on Capitol Hill, and spent a very pleasant hour and a half talking about our mutual friends, and things that we have been up to of late.

I treasure Janet as a dear friend, and to think... it was all because of an electronic box on my desk.

So… in my life, my e-friends are as important to me as people I see on a semi regular basis. I see my efriends nearly every day… my closest "real" friends, Jeff, Kevin, and others, I see a few times a year, when our busy lives allow us to spend a few hours together.


What makes a friend? What do friends talk about? What do they share? For me, talking to friends means talking about family, work, sex, books, church life and stuff in general. We tell our stories, share concerns and support each other, right?

How many of you have online friends that know things about you that friends from your "real" life don't know?

Real life... that's what we call it.

I say that all of this is real, whether I am talking to you via telephone, sitting in a booth at the Hawk 'n Dove, or you are reading this on a screen.

All of this is my real life.



PS: Soccergirl's season ended this morning with the smackdown being laid on the other team. We finished the season as the only undefeated team in the U-8 girl's division!


PT-LawMom said...

Go Soccergirl!

Oh yes, my eLife is much more interesting and friend-filled than my very busy real life. It's somehow easier to be yourself online than in person. I am a very tall woman and I often feel awkward/uncomfortable standing in a room with my peers, most of whom are shorter. I know that's weird but obviously it's not as much of an issue online, is it? I've been with an online mothers group for 4 years now and have met about 8 of them. All were as genuine and wonderful IRL as they were online. :)

super des said...

My real life and my online life are the same. I refer to both as my friends (though sometimes I need to clarify) and have also met some of my best real life friends via the internet.

Real life for me is simply a way to do things so I can write about them in my online life.

Lawyer Mama said...

Well, many people I know IRL read my blog. A few comment. I've met one local blogger and 2 people I met through online mommy groups. I do talk about blogger friends, but I usually just refer to them as "friends" so I don't get *that* look. You know the one I mean!

I think the online *me* is very much the real me, but only if you've known me for awhile. Or if you're a relative stranger and you piss me off.

Go Soccer Girl!

cathouse teri said...

I have met lots of online friends. I agree with des, they are one and the same, in my mind. Although, until you meet, it lives in the ethereal world. I dislike it when people disregard me because I'm not from their "real" life, as if I'm not a "real" person. (I'll be writing about that later. It's been on me mind.)

What the hell was that comment about me at Brillig's in reference to? I couldn't get it?

Charming Driver said...

The very first man I was involved with after separating from my first husband I met online (and he lived/s in DC therefore I spent an unfathomable amount of time in your neck of the woods for a while). I've met some of the people in the world while sitting around in a t-shirt and holey socks, for true. I don't distinguish between online/real life friends; a friend is a friend is a friend regardless of if they live next door or live inside the porn machine.

Charming Driver said...

I meant to say I've met some of the BEST people in the world, derr.

jennifer said...

My life is not only e-life when blogging, but also when working. I work from home and all of my working relationships take place through the computer. I love that about my work, but the blog is a totally different thing. I haven't actually met in person anyone through my blog, but there are a few people that I regularly visit and that visit me who I would love to meet.
The other day I met a lifelong friend who was visiting Italy, who knows just about everything there is to know about me... and she said to me furtively, "Jennifer- I have a blog! Can you believe that??" She's the first "real life" friend who I have shared mine with, and it has convinced to do this with some other people from my life.
Wow- I blabbed a long time here! Think I really liked this topic.

Leslie said...

Very interesting topic...

My site isn't a secret. My off-line friends and family know about it and the ones that live farther away use it to stay up to date on what's happening with me. So, I think I can say I am the same on-line as I am in "real" life.

As for the friendships I've made on-line - they are just as meaningful to me as any other friendship.

Jenn in Holland said...

There is little difference to me and I find myself all the time referring to my "friends" even though they are people I have never met in person. But they are as real to me as any in my offline world. In truth there are some things my online friends know about me that I haven't shared outside of that. Some issues are just easier to be upfront and open about online.
But I am not disingenuous with my real world friends. Probably more compartmentalized though.
This is a great list of questions to contemplate... and goes along with an event in my life this week where my "lives" intertwined. I have thought a lot about it. Still will.
Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.
And by the by, I linked to you today with some blogging love and adoration.
Have a great day, real friend.

Melanie said...

I would say mine two lives are one in the same. My 'real' people know about my blog. Though I probably would consider my 'online' friends more friends then most my 'real' friends. Just because of the whole easier to be myself with people I don't 'really' know!!

viciousrumours said...

I always used to hate when someone would use the term "real life". As in "school is preparing you for "real life" " As it pretains to this discussion, friendships formed via email or online forums can be just as real as those you form in your community. "Real" doesn't have to mean face to face. I'm the same person online that I am in my day to day persona here. I meet some remarkable people through the blogs I read and I feel that they enrich my life. So that's my two cents worth.

jessabean said...

My site isn't secret either, though I have a hard time telling if any of my "real life" friends read it. A couple of them do. But most don't comment or even mention it, so I have no idea...

But it does seem that many of my online friends (or, as I say to Code, my "bloggy friends") are indeed friends, plain and simple. After all, I converse with many of you on a daily basis. I don't even do that with most of my "real life" friends!

As for online vs. real me...I feel I'm pretty true to myself online. There are things I hold back, like shop talk or even a picture of myself, but it's still me! I still get nervous sometimes when I post, wondering if my blog friends will think I'm weird. Even though I've never met them.

Redneck Mommy said...

Soccer girl needs to come and teach my team a thing or two. We are having our asses handed to us. Very embarrassing.

My real life and on line friends are equally important to me. The support and friendship I have received online is very REAL to me. It has helped me cope and deal with the loss of my son.

I can't dismiss the fact that often I have found more validation and compassion with my cyber friends than I often have with my online friends.

And most of the people in my real life choose not to read my blog because it is so personal and it makes them uncomfortable. Or they have a hard time reckoning my tattooed and pierced potty mouth on line with my wholesome Christian attitude in real life.

Stop laughing at me Gunfighter. It's rude.

I have often mentioned you to my hubs. It's my mission to get him into a skirt one way or another.

Cuz it's sexxxxxy.

Redneck Mommy said...

I meant I have often found more compassion online than in real life.

Yah, I'm a natural blonde.

Lady M said...

Congratulations on the soccer!

Like viciousrumors said, I don't like the use of the term "real life." All parts of our lives our real. I work remotely from many of my colleagues. Because we communicate over the phone or on email, does that make the products and business we handle not real? Then why should my bloggy friends not be real?

By the way, not to be all stalkery or anything, but you showed up in my dream last night. I was walking through a gymnasium with a bunch of students (I think I was taking them to dance class), and we passed by you teaching a bunch of kids a game.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I'm exactly the same person offline as I am online, so there's really no improvement found if you meet me in person. :-)

I've found a few good friends via blogging but it's taken time (from my perspective) to go from "cyberfriends" to just plain "friends", but then that's how I am in real life, also. It is definitely easier for me to make friends online than in person, simply because of time constraints and the thing I have about the phone (I hate talking on the phone, to anyone, for any reason), plus it's easier to meet people of such varied personalities and interests. Like Lawyer-Mama said, though, mention your online friends to your offline friends and you do get that look!

In keeping with my "throw it all out there" attitude, my offline peeps know I have a blog and a few bother to read it. Some have called me, completely taken aback, and said, "Hey, you're not a bad writer!" Uh...thanks, I think. So now I'm She Who Writes, and I get suggestions for posts all the time! I tell them, "Get your own blog!"

Great topic...

Gunfighter said...


Brillig was talking about how you found her or how she found you, or something like that... I suggested the it was though my blog.

Is that what you were referring to?

cathouse teri said...

Yes... I must have missed what she said... hmmm... anyway, I think I found you through ba doozie and I found her through you. You are correct.