Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The "Real Life" versus "Online" Dichotomy
Think about this: I have an autoimmune disease. I can't touch or feel folks during certain times of the year, because I can get very sick from germs that they are carrying. I'm home bound for months at a time from various health problems. For example, a year ago I spent 4 months inside due to a upper respiratory infection that just wouldn't go away. Are my relationships less real, just because I don't/can't feel or touch the folks I love? In fact, it's the opposite. Those who care about me stay away from where I can feel or touch them, because they don't want me to get sick(er) during those periods.
I was raised before the Internet was widely used. When it did become popular, skeptics and Luddites would criticize or downplay its significance by creating this on-line/real life dichotomy. Perhaps at one time it might have seemed like a legitimate construct to non-disabled folks. However, it's absolutely useless now.
People can be connected to others even MORE than in the past, because of the Internet. If the only time I was able to spend with someone was when we were able to meet in person, then it would take much longer to develop the relationship. When I can talk to them all day long (on my PC or laptop or cellphone), we can learn a lot more about each other in a shorter period of time.
I'm saying all of this to give folks a few ideas they can consider. What if you decided to stop boxing people into "real life" or "online" categories? What if you accepted that all of these relationships are equally legitimate? You might find out that the lack of certain kinds of folks around your physical body starts to matter a lot less.