In 2012 Ernest Cline wrote a book called Ready Player One. It details a virtual society in which people befriend (and marry!) others they never meet. They get educations from schools they never physically attend. They travel to places without leaving their computer screens. Cline’s theme is that virtual reality is bad. Virtual interactions should not replace real ones, and virtual experiences are inferior to the real-life kind. I disagree with Mr. Cline.
As Americans we say thanks on Thanksgiving for what we appreciate all year round. When I pondered what would be this, my Thanksgiving post, I asked myself what I was grateful for on this day. Blogging came to mind. Of course, my husband is as great as ever, and my daughters, relatives, friends, pets, and students all continue to make the metaphorical sun shine in my world. However, this Thanksgiving, I have blogging to be grateful for, and I never expected just how much.
Clive explains in his book why a virtual education is substandard–it’s boring. My education these past three weeks has been fascinating. By watching YouTube videos, reading articles about blogging, reading others blogs, and getting tutelage from other bloggers, my education in blogging, technology, and social media has increased. In addition, I found out information I never knew. Just yesterday, I was followed by the Christian Pinterest. Who knew there was a Christian version of Pinterest? Not me.
Strangers are writing me from all over the planet, the United Kingdom was one example, to applaud my writing skills and courage. As a result of my new knowledge and these kind compliments, my confidence has increased and what should have been a malaise over the passing of my little dog (see “I Once Had a Dog Named Nasty,” http://wp.me/p5jxvv-a), my preoccupation with blogging has uplifted me (see “How to Get Over the Death of the Family Dog,” http://wp.me/p5jxvv-1S).
When Strangers Became Friends
I have interacted with people I never thought I’d meet. When I blogged about a recent cancer scare in my post “Heaven Can Wait,” cancer victims and relatives of those stricken with cancer reached out to me. When I blogged about allegations of abuse against Bill Cosby (see “Where There’s Smoke There’s…,” http://wp.me/p5jxvv-1E) abuse victims wrote me and were brave enough to share their stories with me, a total stranger.
Although my politics tend to be liberal, some of my greatest interactions have been with conservatives. Opinionated Man, the author of the Harsh Reality blog, definitely doesn’t share my political views. Yet, he has repeatedly allowed me to post on his site, and responded to one of my pro-Obama blogs with the utmost respect. I have “met” him, and other powerbloggers. Apparently there are blogging celebrities ( who knew?) because I’ve come in contact with them. A Canadian who won the Liebster Blogging Award reached out to me. Mary (Jingle, Jangle, Jungle and Ron (Liberal Values) who I met on Twitter gave me ideas to increase my traffic which worked. In addition, Carol from the blog Battered Hope was interviewed on the radio and was kind enough to critique my blog for me.
Garry from the Seems to Me blog is from the deep south. Together we’ve networked on how to attract more traffic to our sites, and he has repeatedly posted my writing to Google Plus which always results in a huge boost of traffic for me. What do real friends do Mr. Cline? They help and support each other. When the technology inherent in blogging confuses me, Garry writes me a witticism along with a link to the answer, and the frustration is dissipated, definitely a friend.
I’ve “met” Alaskans, Canadians, and people who want to have a holiday gift exchange with me, just like “real” friends do. Carolyn West from the Southern California Lady Bloggers group never hesitates to answer my questions and enabled me to network with her group. Coincidentally, she turned out to be a friend of a friend.
My daughter asked me if I blog so much due to repressed feelings that needed expressing (see “May the Blogging Begin,” http://wp.me/p5jxvv-6 ). Whatever my initial motivation. I expected a rush when I was proud of my writing and fulfillment from expressing my analysis to the blogging community. In addition to getting all I expected, I found a niche, a community of bloggers who share my passion for writing.
My opening paragraph explains that I disagree with Mr. Cline that real friendships and experiences are superior to virtual. They are both valuable; they equally have worth. On this Thanksgiving Day, I am newly grateful for the latter, the virtual reality.