Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A safe place (sequal to Not Nice)

I've had interesting responses to my post, "Not Nice," several of them by DM. Some say, of course you're nice, because I have experienced your niceness. Others say, I thought you were nice so now I'm worried about wasting your time. Still others say, I'm not nice either, might as well embrace it. For some reason, all three of these responses made me want to clarify where I'm coming from in our relationship, so there can be no mistake.

I love you, I do, and there are some of you that I would go significantly out of my way for, even on something in the "real" world. I love to share your experiences in the moment, offer what insight or comfort or instigation I can, smile at your joys, growl at your frustrations, play with ideas together and spread love and wisdom like a virus. Several times I have turned to this online community for comfort and it was given with generosity and love. Daily, I turn to you for help with my thinking, and you give it kindly and with a kindred spirit. I feel truly alive when I am engaged with you.

You're like the best novel I've read, and it doesn't end, with an ever-growing cast of characters. Because you are real people out there, represented by what you present here, I'm intrigued to get to know such interesting people this way, without bodies to interpret and with the time to have forethought into what is presented and how.

I have a theory, one of many conflicting theories, that the human race is actually a race. We are working, frantically, to capture the totality of the human experience in an unbreakable code housed in an unbreakable atom, before we run out of matter to sustain us. If that theory were to play out, Twitter would be one important key to that capture. So in a sense, you could consider interaction in this world as a spiritual devotion, a contribution to the greater connection and capture of the human experience.

In the real world, social ramifications matter to me, because my work involves influence at the community level. I work hard to find the balance between the guard required to make guarded people feel comfortable with me, and being open and genuine to draw out true spirits from timid hiding places. At home, my family needs my full presence, and I don't get much opportunity to think and feel for myself.

In the virtual world, I go behind the curtain of my pseudonym, and I am free to express and be just as I need to be in the moment. I don't have to be alone in it. If I make you uncomfortable, you are not obliged to respond to me. If I say something that upsets you, you can unfollow me. So I don't have to worry about what you think. I choose to worry about what you think sometimes, but without obligation, our relationship is truly about free choice. Can you imagine what this gift has meant to me?

So when I say that Twitter/Blogging is like Friendship Light, I mean that in the most positive sense. We can interact when it's convenient. We can give only what we want, and pretend we didn't see a tweet we don't care for. We can give support on our own terms, and there are minimal consequences to disagreement. We achieve depth on the essentials by avoiding all the trappings of physical relationships. It's not enough to sustain a person, but it is a significant enhancement in my life, and I think to the world.

So you can't waste my time.

I have many responsibilities in the physical world, but one of the things I prioritize is some time each day in this virtual realm. I like being in the cloud with you - it feels more like home. Thank you for giving me a safe place to rest and be just me.