Thursday, January 22, 2009

Part the Second - the Internet "Reality"

Apart from anything else, it continues to amaze me how people believe what they are reading ... it is very easy to be the "perfect" man or the "perfect" woman when ugly reality doesn't intrude - we are all perfect online or can be - cellulite, that pouchy tummy, the cranky moods ... and reality bites like that fact that you leave the toilet seat up, you leave dishes in the sink, are a slob - all those realities which you learn to work around or live within a real relationship don't intrude in an online one.

Once upon a time, because it is foreign to who I am, I thought it would be easy to weed out the individuals with hidden agendas; that spotting the “sincere” ones would be easy. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could in essence, create an entire persona and maintain the facade over a sometimes extended period of time. I just can’t BE other than who selkie IS.

But you know what?

The predators are predators BECAUSE they are damn good at hunting. Excellent at sniffing the naive out of hiding. Masterful at playing the credulous at the end of the line. Which is WHY they are called “predators”

pred•a•tor (prd-tr, -tôr)
1. An organism that lives by preying on other organisms.
2. One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain

That is what they DO, what they have always done.

Sadly, the nature of online interaction lends itself to massive abuse and a slaughter of the innocents.

The reality is that online interaction provides a spurious sense of intimacy, leading to misplaced trust and engaging emotions and feelings that otherwise would remain private. People truly believe that they are being given “glimpses” into another individual’s reality when in actual fact, all that is occurring is that they are swallowing the bait.

They believe that by reading another’s words, they are privileged to learn who that individual is; because they are honest and sincere, they think chatting online is providing them with the ‘real’ opportunity to get to know another’s soul.

But think about your favourite author. You’ve perhaps read every single word that author has written. You’ve devoured his words and even read his biography. Do you KNOW that author? NO, you do NOT. You know what he has written, that is all. Ultimately, you do not know his private thoughts, his hidden agendas, you don’t know the realities of his day to day life nor do you even truly know his personal philosophies. Because what he IS, is a writer, and what he writes are the fruits of a talent with words and a vivid imagination ....

So too is interaction with an online acquaintance. Ultimately, you are seeing ONLY what that person wishes to show. Truth is that you’re only being given a look at one dimension of this individual, the ONLY one he or she is choosing to show you...

The reality is that human beings interpret the world and their place in it through a myriad of senses, not just through their vision and what they read, but through a perception of an individual, the body language, the speech pattern, the actual reality face- to-face “feel” of that individual – all of which sense are useless in pixels.

While I don’t believe every internet relationship is necessarily insincere, I do think once an element of romance, sexual intimacy or something other than friendship intrudes, then trouble is looming.

In actual fact, I have several internet buddies I’ve been in contact with who I consider “real” friends – people whose counsel I value, whose conversation I enjoy, whose opinions and viewpoints I respect. These few people I consider as real to me in terms of honest friendship as my off-line friends. These are people, who should the opportunity arise, I would love to meet up with in real time and I have no fear that my opinion of them would in any manner change or alter. For they, like me, are “real”. They, like me, don’t create personas nor do they have agendas which include the manipulation and destruction of innocents ..

But unfortunately, the predators out there outnumber the sincere individuals.

Be forewarned. Be smart. Be cynical.

And in the end, realize the internet is (in many ways) simply a form of entertainment, a way to while away time when bored (and hopefully when it does not interfere with your real-life obligations), and a terrific way to gain insight and knowledge into other venues you might otherwise have knowledge of. It can be a wonderful tool, one that provides vistas and places you would never in a million years have visited, but remember too that like everything else in life, it has its dark places as well...


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MeadowLark said...

This is a great post!
Unfortunately, most people fall for the same thing in real life. They seem determined to believe that people who seem "really nice" are that way all the time.

In relation to your last post as well, my comment to someone in this situation was this: Do you really think she would be this way if you were with her? She's on her best behavior, trying to impress you and "win you", but in the end, it'll be no different than what we have.

selkie said...

sweets, you are in good company hun, count yourself lucky that you escaped relatively unharmed! The bottom line is these guys are GOOD. they are psychological experts at interpretation of people's thoughts and will pick out your weak points and go for blood...

Life is ALL about lessons and change - and the bottom line is, if we didn't make mistakes, there are many lessons we would never learn ...

Meadowlark, thank you for dropping by - and you were RIGHT on the nose in your comment to your friend.

M:e said...

Great post.....this is my second time in 'cyberia'.. I'm certainly a lot more cautious this time around.

I must admit I read some blogs and can't help thinking how, if they're true, the owners are setting themselves up for a fall at some point.

love and hugs xxx

Buffalo said...

Unfortunately most of us have a blind spot - we see what we want to see, be it in real life or cyber life. We reach out to others from a sense of need and that need often blinds us from reality.

"Trust me," they say. Perhaps our response should be, "Prove to me you are worthy of trust."

Loving Annie said...

VERY wise post ! Hope it helps some people avoid the predators ! Sweet sent me - glad to have found your blog.

The internet is NOT the same as daily face-to-face contact. A little bit of wariness and caution is wise. (Especially when there is some cyber-flirting going on.)

Anyone who visits a blog 8 times a day, let alone 80 times a day would scare the crap out of me.
Glad Sweet was okay in the long run, and he went away.

I've met several bloggers for a meal when I've been in their area, and enjoyed it. They have been real, and it is nice.
I've also had one or two bloggers go sideways based on their own issues, and am glad there is an anonymity there that protected me.

MeadowLark said...

FYI: My feed reader probably visits 20 times a day. I think. Quite honestly, I don't know how feed readers show up in statistics. I don't really know how to read them

Just a thought.

But yeah... unless it's in a comment-versation, that's odd.

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selkie said...

Buff, i LOVE the way you put that - it is succinct and so true!

Annie- thank you for your comment and for dropping by - that Sweet - I said to her if fonts could be blush, this one would be crimson!

I am not a 'surfer' in the true sense of the word - thus, i tend to check back and forth on my 'regular' reads (granted, if its a slow 'work' day LOL) as I love to follow comment trails and see the repartee occurring. so in that sense, maybe it would look 'stalkerish'- on the other hand, 80 times a day versus 10 or so is very different ....

Eaton Bennett said...

I just arrived here on the recommendation of *SWEET* and I am in complete agreement with you on this topic. Wonderful write and so very true. Thank you for saying this so plainly, there is no mistaking what you've written here. Good stuff!
Eaton. :)

Loving Annie said...

very true. If you've got an ongoing cyber- conversation going on via the comments, then it's not stalking or creepy...
And if I saw you or Sweet, I wouldn't worry about it.

But some guy wanting to maybe eventually talk the sideways horizontal with me, well, I'm not sure I'd feel so comfortable....
I don't even like internet dating for that reason. Either meet me face-to-face for coffee somewhere neutral with other people around, or fuggedaboutit !

selkie said...

Annie, I read your comment about your stalker on Sweet's blog- now THAT is scary and yes, it can be frightening.

Interesting -many seem to have had stalkers - I too have had my share - in fact I had one when I was blogging on yahoo, that hacked my blog and took it over - NOW that SUCKED - when someone can pretend to be YOU and has access to your pictures, your comments, your friends!

Anonymous said...

Great posts!

Keep your eyes wide open, don't trust anyone with personal stuff and be aware that there are assholes everywhere who get their jollies by making others miserable.

You guys are the best! Have a great weekend!

Loving Annie said...

That would drive me crazy of someone hacked my blog. I'd delete it, but not be quite sure how to start over somewhere else and be safe !