I’m coming to realize more and more than I live equally in virtual space and in real space. I collaborate with wonderful people spread around the world and I gab with them over Skype as we read one another’s blogs to see into one another’s worlds. Thursday, I even had a “Dang – these jeans don’t fit right” conversation with Adrienne, the IYA New Media Second Life lead about virtual jeans (I managed to make an IYA T-Shirt look, um, like something that shouldn’t be worn in real or virtual public thanks to jeans that were cut a bit low). This second reality of virtual friendships sometimes leads to fascinating turns of phrase.
Imagine hearing the words, “You still seem to be my friend,” in real life. Can you think of an instance where those words wouldn’t be attached to some moment of hurt?
Yet, when seen in a skype window following technical issues, this seemingly nasty turn of phrase is just the thing to cause a silly smile (Apparently my mac mini is better at keeping track of who it’s friends with than my MacBook Pro).
“Friend me,” “Poke me,” “Add me.”
This me, me, me litany of modern communications helps us build connections with them, you, those. The words are a bit rude (What stranger would you not run from if they demanded friendship for no reason in the middle of the afternoon?), a bit rough (Please don’t poke me in real life), and a bit odd (add me to what?). But . . . These phrases are what allow you to find me in Facebook and send a hug, a flower, and cow (doesn’t everyone need to throw a cow now and then?).
It is odd how our language has turned to two purposes as its meaning splits between the spoken and the IM’d, but my virtual life makes me happy in both worlds. I live in small town America, and my virtual life makes me real world happy as it lets me leave behind the city without leaving the city’s diversity of people.
Just don’t poke my reality. Poke my virtuality.