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Muse for Monday

Mantra

We spent last week talking about friendship. Tonight, Mantra has a question for a friend. She does not ask lightly, either. She has done her due diligence. Can you help her find an answer to her query?

Ofttimes, we build relationships in the virtual world. We get to know one another through online jobs, social media and the blogosphere. We congregate at websites to discuss our politics, beliefs, support, outrage…we bond in our likenesses. We are birds of virtual feathers.

The camaraderie is not virtual. It is very real. We build trusts, share our lives, heartaches, desires, innermost dreams. Sometimes, we are willing to share more with the virtual world than we are in the flesh and blood world because we have the screen to protect us from physical harm. Occasionally, we perceive it can protect us from heartache because our virtual friends have no vested interest in our downfall. In short, they pose no threat to our actual place in the flesh and blood world.

Lament

At some point, everyone who engages heavily online reaches an overload. It is the exact same emotional overload which comes with spending too many hours with a friend in person. The emails and notifications are too much. The pressure builds. We try desperately to be the friend we want in return, but find the flesh and blood world encroaching with everything in its realm:

  • Bills need to be paid.
  • Pets need exercise.
  • Doctors appointments are scheduled.
  • Friends and family need assistance.
  • Socialization beyond the screen is paramount.
  • Death.

One by one, your profiles disappear…

Just as we learned to depend on our online friends to be online when we virtually come to call, they, too, rely on us to be there when they are in need. What happens to them when we leave them alone? What about when we leave them alone with no mention of where we are?

Do they panic and come searching? Do they report us missing because they know the perils of our flesh and blood existence? Do they even notice we are gone?

Mantra

Over the course of the last three months, I have lost a number of virtual friends. People who I got to know through various outlets, but whose exodus from the virtual world coincided with their exodus from the flesh and blood world as well. For some, the notification came quickly, within 24 hours of the death. Others would trickle in. One would wait weeks for the truth to out.

For me, the answer is simple. Mantra wrote this both for and about me. Lost in Cyberspace  is not about being sucked into a virtual world to the exclusion of the flesh and blood world. It is not about going incognito and assuming a new profile to begin virtual life anew.

Instead, it is about the shattered privacy of virtual friends when one is gone.

Lost in Cyberspace

Where are you?

The telephone rings without answer.
Crickets in the inbox chirp.
Not one message has been opened.
Your walls, pages and streams are
plastered, scribbled and polluted
with idioms, adages and pictures,
but not one peep to acknowledge
you’ve seen even the first one.

Where are you?

The postman brought back the letter,
ANK stamped on the envelope.
The invisible SWAK was not broken.
Mailer daemon came to call and
brought back address corrupted.
One by one, your profiles disappear
from view, pictures in the mist,
DM, PM and chat disabled and done.

Where are you?

We bridged the digital divide together,
enjoyed technological bliss.
But now terrabytes are not spanned
with blazing high speed or wifi.
Have you been digitally abducted?
Did the hackers come and wipe
your memory, destroy your hard drive,
reduce you to bits of mere silicone?

Where are you?

140620120116
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer

~~~~~~~~~~


Do you have virtual friends you look for when they disappear? Do your virtual friends look for you when you are missing in action? Have you had a virtual friend move from the computer to the telephone or to flesh and blood land? Have you ever lost a virtual friend?

This post is dedicated to all the virtual friends who have moved to another plane where modems are not necessary.

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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51 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how connected we can become to people we will never meet. I have several I would miss and wonder about. I’ve never had them cross over to actually phone me, but the have left messages…. Angie
    Angela Young recently posted..The Writers Journey: A Book BeginsMy Profile

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    • There have been so many tell me, “You know, you are the first person I have spoken to on the phone from online.” I laugh and normally answer the same way every time…You are not even the first one today. ;)

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