Posts Tagged ‘D’

This past week has been one that has led me to really think about expectations and what they can do to a person.  Especially in cyberland.  When we find a person on line, each place that we find them is like a different social setting.  The person you meet in my blog is one dimension of who I am, as is the person you meet on Facebook, or on GoodReads, or any number of places I am a contributor to.  What you can’t know is who the person you would meet face to face most like?  Is it the serious, deep thinker?  The cut-up?  Or maybe the non-reader. (That would be for all of you who know me through Good Reads – I actually eat books for breakfast, but you wouldn’t know it by what I post I have read.)  Oh, and that brings me to the other thing – what is real?  True?  True for a moment?

I think we all tend to believe that whatever part of a person we connect best with is their real, true self.  When other aspects we encounter don’t match up to what we expect, it can be upsetting, even make us angry.  Expectations.   I recently had an acquaintance I’ve known for a few years cut off contact, because she found my humor to be offensive and she couldn’t reconcile one cyber Kip with another cyber Kip.

During that same time, I met someone that had only met cyber Kip here on the blog and in one other venue.  She had been slightly afraid that I would be a rather one-dimensional, incense burning, Birky wearing, chanting granola-eater.  And I am, but that is not by the smallest stretch of the imagination all that I am.  She was prepared to go with whomever she met.  No expectations.  We had a blast together.

I’m totally into goal setting – it’s how we get what we want.  But I have been thoroughly reminded about how damaging expectations can be.  And I need to remember the difference.

The offensive humor?  Oh, I’m not sure.  The topics that day were hair dye, polyamory, and merkins.


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Recently, I had an experience that got me to thinking about dating in the computer age.  Funnily enough, a friend of mine is having a similar but different kind of experience.  We’ve been talking about it, and while we haven’t really taken a poll, we have the sense that what we are experiencing is a generational thing.

So, my friend gets an email from a girl she’s been kind of interested in, and it’s a “will you go out with me?’ email.  Kinda’ cool!  The automatic signature at the bottom of the email contains a link to said woman’s web page and blog.  So my friend checks it out.  (And wouldn’t we all?)  Now she feels she knows way, way too much about this womon and wonders what they will talk about on their first dates.  Should she mention that she has read the blog?  Aren’t some of these stories things that one might want to tell in person, and maybe with a different slant?  And how much does my friend need to share to be on “equal footing?”  To top it off, while my friend isn’t on Facebook, I am, and through my friends, I know that this womon has written about my friend on her Facebook page.  She doesn’t mention her by name, but our world is rapidly becoming a fishbowl.  Where is one’s privacy?  How much about ourselves should we put out there, and how will it be interpreted?

Which brings me to my recent experience.  A woman that I have been interested in and who is interested in me saw some things that I had posted on Facebook and in a couple of places and put two and two together and came up with five hundred ninety-nine.  Luckily we’re both good, direct communicators, and there was no harm no foul, but it served to give me an even further awareness of what knowing someone in the computer age can mean.

Friending someone on Facebook is like stepping in to a continuous party, where you may or may not know anyone there except your friend.  How they are related to the people they talk to, what their status statements mean, the quips that go back and forth – what’s real, what’s an inside joke, and what’s just plain old BS?

Now combine that with blogs, Web sites, and other “Web sightings”, you get a big, messy puzzle that can be put together in a bajillion ways.  And, if you care about that person that you’re getting all of this information about, sometimes there is a tendency to think that they are posting with you in mind.   “Are they, aren’t they?  Are they trying to tell me something?  Or is it not about me? ”

People my age are relatively new to social networking.  We tend to feel stalkerish if we read even what has obviously been put out there for public purview.  (Yeah, I don’t know why either.)  We hesitate to admit that we have information unless it is told directly to us.  (Like we need to keep it secret that we are interested in what our friends have to say or are thinking.  That would be bad, why?)  We are learning though, and I think it is making us better communicators.  I think it is making us more assertive, less fear driven (if we step up and ask for the clarifications), and generally happier.  I know I have become much more transparent and really, really thoughtfully honest since I started blogging and Facebooking.  Everyone can see what I’ve said to everyone else.  It’s a good way to keep drama free.   But this is not an easy or comfortable change.  Good growth never is.  And transparency is not for the faint of heart.

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