by Joanna D'Angelo

Why do we exist online?  Why do we blog? Why do we share our lives with strangers? When I began dipping my toes in the sometimes murky waters of the internet it was strictly to promote my work (I'm a writer) and to network. What happened was something a little different.  I continue to promote myself and I continue to make valuable contacts and meet terrific people online who inspire me in my professional life but I have also connected on a personal level with many wonderful people - many of the professionals that I have dealt with for work but others as well - people whose blogs I read or whom I've had more personal exchanges with on the various social media sites.

It is that personal connection that means a great deal to me. Yes, sometimes it does feel strange and you have to wonder at the "realness" of it all or if people are being truthful about themselves. Several of my friends have had bad experiences online - both men and women.  Some people are not truthful about their "status".  They might be married and pretend they're not. Why do they do this? Perhaps rather than deal with their real life problems they prefer to live in a fantasy world. Or they're just trolling for fish.  And certainly we know that there lurks an even more dangerous kind of online persona - the psychopath who targets children or the vulnerable.

Then there are the bloggers who reveal almost every intimacy of their daily lives. Are they narcissists or do they believe they are truly engaging others? Or do they want to be "discovered" in the hopes of getting a book/movie/TV deal.  That to me is probably one of the biggest driving forces for a lot of people online - the discovery/celebrity factor.  I think there is a difference between a writer who might blog about his or her current project and the "tell all" bloggers who are hoping to snag their 15 minutes of fame. I am not passing judgement here - I am just making an observation. We have - in our society - a growing obsession with "being famous".  If your video can get millions of hits on YouTube then you're well on your way to becoming the next Justin Beiber or "The Situation".

On a personal level - the people whom I have made close bonds with are very much like the people that I know in my "real life".  They are interesting, funny, curious, unique, strange, odd, quirky, attractive (even if I have only seen a picture or even if I have never seen their picture.)

As an aside - yes you can find someone physically attractive but if he or she has nothing going on upstairs then why bother even checking out the downstairs? And I am not  - nor have I ever been instantly attracted to anyone. It takes me a while. But once I get to know someone's personality and it clicks with me -  then that's when I start to "feel" that person - right down to my toes. Well,  I think it's the same for most people - at least people who aren't superficial idiots. 

But back to the interwebs and all of its mysteries. As a writer - I live online - I am constantly doing research (okay I also go to the library - there is nothing wrong with that!) but online is where I always start - and it is also where I sometimes get  new ideas.  Sometimes those ideas are sparked from reading an article that someone posts and other times it's a personal story that gets me thinking about a broader issue.  Either way I find the online world continues to fascinate and inspire me.

Photo of young woman through the computer screen courtesy of Yohanne Aberkane
Photo of woman sitting in front of lap top courtesy of Nelson Alonso


  1. 'They are interesting, funny, curious, unique, strange, odd, quirky, attractive (even if I have only seen a picture or even if I have never seen their picture.)'

    What I've discovered about my online life is that it is so exactly tailored to suit me. At work and at home, often there is a clash of personalities or a humdrum non-engagement. And in the physical world one must learn to slap on the fake smile and the fake interest with co-workers with whom you'd never spend a nanosecond of time if you didn't have to.

    However, in Blogland there is no pressure at all to interact with anyone you don't want to. You aren't forced to read blogs you don't like. Time's too short for that!

    All of my Blogland or Facebook time is spent interacting with people I find fascinating and who find me just as interesting. For me, that's the sweetest thing of all about the online world. Each person assembles their own online tribe where the feeling of being at home is highly soul-renewing.

  2. Hi Julia - thanks so much for you comment! I completely agree with you - it's like your drawn to people who are so like-minded - it's strange and yet wonderful - it's been a positive experience over all. Glad it has been for you too. ;)


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