Thursday, April 07, 2005

What is this?

Maybe I am over-analyzing, but I can't stop thinking about blogging and the interactive realm of the internet. What is it, how did I get here, what role does it play in my life, what need is it fulfilling, what's too much, who do you trust, are people really who they portray online....? These are just some of the questions that roll through my mind.

Most days I put up my posts and go about my day -only checking in every few hours to see what's going on. That wasn't always the case. In the early months of blogging I was rarely off the computer and my 'real' life really suffered. My housework sat, invoices for the business were not getting done and my 'real life' friendships were being neglected. It's easy to justify anything and I am the master of that. It was before the election and there were battles to be won. The wash would still be there in the morning. My 'real life' friends don't give a crap about politics and were sick to death of hearing me go on and on about it. And here was this wonderful new world were no one was apathetic --even if you were on the wrong side, you all gave a shit as much as I did and even better you all wanted to talk about it... It was addicting...You were all addicting.

But one day I looked around and there was the wash, and the dishes and my kids and my husband and they were right here...and I wasn't. I think that I got so caught up in being appreciated and validated again. Before I had kids I was so active. I was working, getting my degree, going to the gym --all things that you are rewarded for. If you do good at work your boss lets you know, you write a great paper in school you get an 'A', and if you work out hard enough you get flattering compliments...but I don't think anyone has ever said, "Damn ALa, that is the best folded load of laundry I have ever seen!" So this place became my voice, my soapbox, my place to vent and ultimately my personal validation (and maybe a bit of my self worth).

I loved that liberals came on wanting to hate me but couldn't. I loved that fellow conservatives kept coming even when we disagreed. I loved that we talked a lot with minimal ad hominem attacks even if no minds were being changed. I loved that the discussions strengthened my convictions. I still don't love the nasty emails, but I don't take them personally the way that I used to.

But where are the lines? Am I who I present here? (I think I am) Are you? Are we friends even though we have never met? Can we be friends if we've never met? Many of you I speak with more than people in my 'real' what's 'real'? When I make my Christmas card list this year --who deserves a slot? The 'real' friend that I haven't actually seen in three years or some of you that I speak with everyday, but have never laid eyes on. And what about when this world crosses over...on the phone, on IM or over dinner...or a Blogger's Ball? Does it become 'real' then or was it 'real' all along?

Wondering if you all think about these things too. Why are you in the Blogosphere? What do you think of the people that you have met here...are they friends or do internet interactions fall into a separate category? Can long-lasting friendships/relationships be formed successfully with a keyboard? Regardless of the implications, I love blogging and I don't regret a single connection that I have made here...I am just wondering how it should all be categorized in my mind...

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