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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

BEDA late than never! HAHAHAHA.

I crack myself up.

So, I've been enjoying five days of BEDA (Blog Every Day in April) posts, mainly from people who I enjoy watching on the Youtube community, such as Kristina Horner, Hayley G Hoover, and Kayley Hyde among others. I tried so hard to be a successful Youtuber, a few years ago, and became incredibly disheartened when my most popular video was removed, due to copyright violation. I had made a video about my favourite French Language songs, and had a really good response in the comments, with hundreds of recommendations, and people telling me that I have shown them new songs that they now love. I didn't realise that promoting songs constituted copyright violation, so it was a huge blow when my video got taken down.

I still feel depressed when I watch videos made by prominent members of the 'Youtube community', because I feel like that's something that I want so much to be a part of, from which I am mostly excluded. I watch the videos nonetheless, because like so many others, watching them makes me feel a little bit like I am a part of these people's lives.

Of course, I have enough of my own internet friends to keep me going. I have my own internet community, where I have made some of the best friends I could ever wish for. I spend so much of my time thinking about my friends, and writing to them, that I sometimes take them for granted. I realised this last night, as I perused another internet forum, this time one about teaching. Everyone on that forum seemed to be bigoted, closed-minded, and conservative. It really upset me, how so mahy of them seemed to be there simply to practise their sarcastic teacher remarks on each other. I retreated to my usual forum, and felt the warm glow of a community who understand and accept one another.Here are some of my beautiful friends, when we met for the first time, last summer. So much has happened since then, and I can't believe we have only been friends for such a short time. I am a very lucky lady indeed. I have learned so much from these wonderful people, and I have become a nicer person for it. I am still so jealous of Vic's clothes, Annis' pink hair, Rowan and Claire's enthusiasm for academia, and Ruby's sense of humour!

A couple of years ago, if you'd told me that I spend my time on an internet forum, chatting to people I'd met online, I'd probably have told you that "I'm not that kind of person". I cringe at my naive outlook now, as I've probably spent more time interacting with my internet friends than with my 'real life' friends. I have put 'real life' in inverted commas, because I despair at the thought that your internet life isn't your 'real life', and that somehow every interaction you have on the internet is invalidated by the fact that it isn't face to face. Almost all contact that humans have, aside from face-to-face conversation is mediated by some form of digital device. This includes telephones, and in some ways, even letters, if they are printed from a computer. So in what way are our 'real life' friends any different from our internet ones? I've met most of my friends from the internet, so are they now 'real life' friends too? I certainly enjoy meeting them, but I don't think that they are any more 'real' now that I have. I e-mail and text my 'real life' friends just as much as I see them, so are they 'virtual' now?

There is a huge misconception, (one that I shared, before I had really experienced an online community for myself), that there is a hierarchy of human interaction. This is probably because of the novely and relative infancy of technological communication and digital media. I want to break this misconception down. The internet has facilitated my friendship with people all over the world. I have now met people with whom I can be myself, and with whom I CHOOSE to spend my time. We often can't choose the people with whom we spend our time physically, for example at school and work, we are forced to spend time with people with whom we share no commonality apart from our geographical location. The internet allows communication and relationship building with people we actually care about! I am not intending to reverse the hierarchy of human interaction, by asserting that internet friendships are somehow more valid than those which begin face to face, because similarly, I have plenty of friends whom I first met in person, and love to pieces. I just want to break down people's prejudice against the way I form some of my frienships.

So, faithful few readers, tell me about your friendships. Do you have more internet, or meatspace friends? How do you tend to communicate?

I need to go and do some dissertation writing now. If only the words flowed so freely there, as they do here!

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