Being a netizen in the blogosphere not only means you get to talk about things you want to talk about and read things you mightn’t elsewhere, but you also get to know more people in the process. You read people’s blogs, people read your blog, comments are left, interaction is engaged, and suddenly you find yourself having regular readers of your blog or becoming one yourself.
This sad but true phrase always comes to mind after knowing somebody for a while: familiarity breeds contempt. At the beginning of the friendship, you think your friends are fantastic, you think you have some things in common and you just enjoy getting to know them.
Until you discover there are some things you don’t always agree on. A personal conflict starts: do you swallow what you really feel and tolerate your friends or do you want to risk the friendship for the sake of upholding the principles of what you believe in?
A lot of people would choose to jump the bandwagon and conform to the maxim of politeness, but in the case of the Internet, individuality is more celebrated than it is in the Real World. You don’t necessarily risk your popularity or pride or feelings or job if you don’t agree with some Internet personality.
However, you are risking a friendship forged over the keyboard. If you’re the kind who likes making friends, it hurts a little even though you’re not that close to your virtual friend when you decide you’re choosing principles over friendship. This isn’t a case of “You and I are not going to be friends anymore” but rather the awkwardness that sometimes arise after a petty war of words. When you passionately debate about something you believe in that contradicts what your friends believes in, words are a lot harsher than they would be in the real world to compensate the lack of body language and tone. You aren’t so petty as to break the friendship off totally over a difference of opinion, but at the same time it’s undeniable that something has happen and it’s changed the course of the friendship.
Perhaps that’s why virtual friendships are more casual than the ones in Real Life. After all, you don’t have much to lose in virtual reality – you don’t see the face, you don’t hear the voice, you don’t feel the pain.
Obviously, this is experience talking and it is very sobering. It makes the writer question her self. She wonders if this pseudo-fallouts are an indication of a disagreeable personality. If this is reflective of her equally messy relationships with college mates and family. If this is telling her that she has an attitude problem which drives people away.
If so, is she then misguidedly defending her wrongs in the name of principles?