Times have changed.
You are more likely to bump into one of your old friends or the long lost relative in the e-world than the r-world, where ‘r’ refers to the ‘real’ world, and ‘e’ is the virtual world of the internet – social media and messaging. This is precisely what happened this week when I messaged one of my friends-Susan for a quick help, and I got her response back stating-
“I think you’ve sent the message to the wrong Susan .”
Indeed, I had sent the message to the ‘wrong’ Susan- in haste, I selected Susan Taylor, rather than Susan Young from my phone address book. This ‘wrong’ Susan had moved to Bay area few years back, and we had lost touch. Thanks to this e-bumping that the contact with her rekindled. Our e-conversation was just a starter. We both were grateful for my messaging goof up. We even have a date fixed for this weekend to catch up over the phone and have an r-conversation (‘r’ again stands for real here!) and in this phone conversation, we can actually interpret each other’s voice and go beyond words. I will get to hear her r-laughter and not ‘LOL’.
The e-world has completely transformed the r-world, as a result, the physical distances have become a thing of ancient past. Just a few years back wherein I was living with the faint memories of my school friends, now we actually get to e-chat about those priceless moments and share jokes, and when stars align, we even have an r-meet. These are the good times when we peeps can get a look into each others lives through photographs and videos, get to know each other and feel socially satisfied electronically, and I love it.
For people who tend to avoid r-confrontation and the socially anxious types, the e-world is a perfect platform to communicate without feeling claustrophobic. The emoji is less threatening than the daunting look of a real person. And if worst happens, then ‘unfriend’ option is comfortable than to tell your buddy-
“Hey! it’s not working out!”
“I don’t think we gel together.”
This is all good stuff, but the irony is that I have more friends in my e-social network than in the real world. There are some friends who intersect into both the worlds, but there are few that I know would remain in the e-world, and I am content to have them at that e-distance. They are nice to know acquaintances, and with time there is a possibility that they get converted into real friends, but until then they reside in my e-society only.
The social media has also paved the way to personal advertising wherein peeps get to create their socially positive image and feel accepted. On the other side also generating a perception of perfect life picture, daunting to the insecure. Furthermore, the affinity to the e-world has led to the creation of a new clan of social evaders- called the ‘phubbers’. You can meet the phubbers on my first blog post-https://ipenlife.com/2015/10/15/are-you-a-phubber/
The e-world has given rise to the new language-mostly popular amongst teenagers called the ‘text speech or net lingo’ which has succeeded in KPC (keeping parents clueless). The not so e-savvy parents grapple to make sense of these slangs to get an insight into their teenager’s world.
Undoubtedly, the e-world has been successful in connecting people beyond boundaries and across oceans. On its own, the e-world does not offer a completely fulfilling social nourishment for its lack of physical face-to-face times, but it has proved to be a remarkable enabler to foster social connections in this real world.
Because of when I was born, I have some awareness of what my life can be without the e-world connection, but I know my kids are completely clueless about the life before ‘facetime’. I am grateful for the e-world for providing a platform to connect with you all.
BBL (Be back later) with my post next week!