Virtual Relationships and Reality

Habbo Hotel courtesy of

In today’s connected world it’s easy to initiate relationships with anyone from anywhere.

In our interpersonal exchanges we observe and learn, become challenged and entertained, provoke and be provoked, inspire and conversely dismiss. Then like any other online activity we (however conscious or purposely choose to) make, it’s on to something else.

Online, this exchange becomes easy through convenience. Comments can be short with responses seldom visited again. Time is be suspended or accelerated with little or no expectations on return.

Technology indicates how awesome our universal connectivity is on a very macro level. We read about it in case studies and are familiar with social media contributing to action on the ground.

Many of us are even likely to know someone who found their mate online, broadly taking into consideration the many meanings within the phonetics of the word “soul.”

Yet sometimes, the ritual becomes less filling with origins occasionally sketchy – not so dissimilar from last night’s dinner from Thai Surprise.

Like a game of roulette with a ball bouncing from red and black, positive to negative, in and out of our favor, our online repartee is at similar odds.

Yet any disappointment by means of negative or random activity can conversely lead way to positive benefits that only online conversations can provoke.

One up-side is that we forgo surface-level banter to focus on the topic at hand.

In online communicato the initial ice breaker or common ground is disregarded, therefore dismissing the audition to friendship required in real life. This forgoes the formality of polite cocktail-hour chatter, cutting directly to a brutally honest reaction directed towards one without a face.

These exchanges are random, they’re happenstance, they’re a one-off and pop-up experience. Will we ever message, reply, or chat with this person again? At this point a new relationship can be identified that’s not exactly “acquaintance” and far from being “friend.”

How do we taxonomize relationships of the 21st century taking into account fans, friends, followers, collaborators, and commentators?

Communications with these quasi-friends are fleeting with conversations that are quick, random, and only as meaningful as we allow them to be.

On the surface level it can appear strange and even invasive. Within the right context, the first exchange sets the tone and reason for present and any future mutual acknowledgement.

It’s the tip of a hat while crossing a busy intersection; it’s a joke exchanged on an elevator ride. 2-Dimensional friendships are exactly what they appear to be.

They’re direct, intentional, and contain observations typically requiring 140 characters or less.

Quasi-friends are steadily available to engage in conversation with across many mediums except real life. They’re not friends – not the type we’d freely invite to dinner at least – let alone feel comfortable telling where we live.

They’re characters, avatars, self-constructed personalities to be taken with any amount of quality proverbial grain.

The relationship build is a new breed of partially fictional and partially real. They’re folks we engage with over everything from news to work, from editorial banter to chatting over hobbies and interests. They’re celebrities with an assistant at the helm, they’re acquaintances from planet digerati.

Friends in real life are gems and snowflakes, each one inherently different with unique shared experiences and specific commonalities. Online, they’re a unique set of 1’s and 0’s whereby each meaning is whatever we choose to assign it.

Lovable quirks that members of our real-life community possess are stripped away online, bringing us the very frankness of a person’s interests and personality.

We can directly engage with whomever that person chooses to be, and their presentation is accepted by us as a quick fix for the brain temporal.

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