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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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My strangers are my friends [20110817|23:53]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |bourbon]
[with a hint of |Empirion - Narcotic Influence]

[personal profile] quoththeravyn asked me five questions as part of that meme that does the rounds now and again, and I got so wrapped up in answering one of them that I figured it deserved its own post.

What motivates you to share your life with relative strangers on the internet?

  1. It's part of the world inside my head. As I imagine most of the people reading this do, I spend most of my time being silent, in my head with my thoughts. When I'm at work, I sit in an office with other people who are mutely absorbed in their work. When I sit on trains, I'm with people who are absorbed in books/laptops/newspapers. When I'm with the bloke, we are often sitting together doing quietly meditative things. None of these are unfriendly environments, but they are all silent. A good deal of living, for me, is internal. The internet has always felt like a very natural extension of that inner world. Access to it via a physical interface is so swift and simple that I almost don't notice it.

  2. It feels safe. I know that being so open has risks, but my online experience, as I mentioned not long ago, has largely been positive. I share things on my journal - my paintings, my photos, intimate personal stories that sometimes don't reflect well on me - and the reaction from my stranger/friends has always been thoughtful, supportive and kind.

  3. It's part of being a "global" citizen. I've spent very few years of my life in any given location. I'm accustomed to my friendships, the ones that have spanned years and countries, involving very little face-time for long stretches. I'm happy to maintain cerebral connections to the people I love via this medium. Even when the communication is one-sided. I tend to concentrate my need for physicality in one person. This may or may not be healthy, but it's my solution to the regular geographical uprootings that I undertake.

  4. It lets me be randomly generous. I have occasional urges to, as the saying goes, give the world a Coke. I don't have the resources to carry out anything on that scale, but I can send my flist/dwircle postcards, magnets, pretty pictures of Saturn and paid account time.

  5. This community belongs to me. Whatever else happens in my personal life, I have this. I have this group of somewhat haphazardly collected folks, some of whom I've never met, others but once or twice and a few with whom I've spent significant time in meatspace. They read what I write here, and they care about it. I reciprocate. I depend on this, and it comforts me to know it's here.

  6. And finally, crucially, where else am I going to put all these cat pictures?


So, flist/dwircle, why do you share your life on the internet?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: pax_athena
2011-08-17 23:44 (UTC)
I read 1. and thought "yes" and it kept happening on with all the rest. Except for 6., since I don't have a pet at this point of my life. But there would be photos if I would :)
That's - an interesting experience, finding things which mirror my own inner life written down by somebody else. This does not happen to often, but this is definitely something I'm here for.

For me it's additionally that I always liked written communication. I was big into penpalling in my school years - it was a nice way to connect to people, back then especially because it was not my accent or my looks that people would first get to know about me. That carried on to LJ. A good friend - who started as somebody who friended me on LJ, because we talked somewhere about something - told me that's I'm now writing meta for my own life. Which is kind of true I guess and something I need, I need to write things down to get a red thread into my life. And sometimes it's just about the possibility to show a photo to somebody when all the real life people are too far away.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:48 (UTC)
I loved penpalling! I still keep in touch with a few people from penpalling during school, mostly through Facebook.

I also like the idea of journalling as meta for your life - as something to hold together all the disjointed bits of experience. It certainly does that for me.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:38 (UTC)
Awesome! I hope they're inspiring awe and envy. :D
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2011-08-18 11:03 (UTC)
For a while there I think I felt that I expressed myself better in text than in person, with my social anxiety and all. But either my awkwardness levels on and off-line have balanced or I've just gotten more suave in real life, since I spend less time (fortunately) on the internet these days. I still enjoy it for most of the reasons you list.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:37 (UTC)
I still feel I express myself better in text, but since I've been in England for a while now and have established friend groups, I think I feel more comfortable in meatspace, too. Or maybe it's just that my established friend groups are accustomed to my awkwardness.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2011-08-18 16:45 (UTC)
Company and community. And feedback. Life would be very insular otherwise, with a much smaller people of circle circle of people (brain fail). And if I had a cat, there would be many cat pictures. Just this week I have seen three kittens for sale just like yours, and one ginger kitten going free, and I'm still not allowed one :'(.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:39 (UTC)
Aw, no kittens. This is very sad, especially since you even have your own place now.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:42 (UTC)
Thank you. So am I (glad, and still working through some things).
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[User Picture]From: girl_onthego
2011-08-21 21:47 (UTC)
When I was younger I used to say, "I wish all my friends lived on the same block."

With the internet, they kind of can.

I agree with all your answers, but it's the Global Citizen one that I think is the most important and relevant.
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[User Picture]From: girl_onthego
2011-08-21 21:47 (UTC)
(though also 1, I completely agree with that answer.)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-08-28 09:44 (UTC)
Yes, except everyone keeps hopping platforms as soon as something new and shiny comes up. Why couldn't they have all stayed on LJ? :P
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