Sunday, October 31, 2010

what is real?

I got a comment on an earlier post regarding the outcome of surgery I recently had, and it made me think of the topic of this post.  When you meet people online, either via chat rooms, message boards, blogs, etc, there is talk of this being a "virtual world" vs the "real world" which is the one we live and breath and work, etc. 
Sometimes, I think the people in the virtual space can be as real as those in real life.  For example, I just had a virtual stranger ask me how I was, if I was ok, after having some surgery.  That to me is a show of concern.  I don't think imaginary or virtual people are that real.  Also, Diane seems very real to me, I read her blog, know (I think) quite a bit about her from her blog, so she seems like a friend.  Of course someone can watch a TV show week after week, and get to know the characters and they can also seem like people you "know", almost like friends. But the difference here is that online, there is an interchange.  I read her blog and can comment, and she can comment back on my comments, and she reads my blog and leaves comments for me as well.  Mine is not near as interesting as hers, and I don't write near as often. So by exchanging comments it becomes a form of conversation, and we can get to know each other, at least superficially. which makes it more real.  I could also argue that I have friends (acquaintances?) that knew I was having surgery and haven't made any effort to check on me in real space, so having someone do that in the virtual world, is a nice thing.
One of my favorite books is a kids book. The Velveteen Rabbit.  In the book toys become real through the love of their owner.  I think I had a point here somewhere, but I think I lost it.  So instead I'll just say that maybe virtual space is sort of like that too, it becomes as real as those who participate in it.  And yes, I know there are many fake people on the Internet that are out for no good.  My mother always warned be about those people.  You know the ones out for no good.  I think they should wear a label or sign.  I don't believe everything I read or see.  But on the other hand, I don't doubt everything or disbelieve it either. So I will continue to write my blog for my own reasons, and continue to feel a part of a community.  Which is a really nice thing.