Monday, January 28, 2008

With friends like these...--veinglory

Boy, I read this over and it sounds kinda negative. I hope you get that it is really a warm and fuzzy thought. No, really.

I was thinking the other day, about the role the online romance community has in my life--perhaps too large a role, oh well. I move a lot and have had most of my online friends and acquaintances far longer than anyone I know in meatspace.

What I have come up with is this. The romance forums and blogs are like an extended family that you can unplug. I don't mean a Disney family with little Bobby, Gramma, Momma making cookies and Unky Fred building Bobby a tree house. I mean a real family with some nice people, some okay people and a few people like the bickering teens, the frikkin annoying sexist cousin who is always stoned and staring down your cleavage, uptight Aunt Priss who thinks Harry Potter is the work of the devil and the uncle-in-law who stole your scooter to pawn for bail money. (In case any of my family are somehow here, those are obviously made up examples based loosely in 'The People's Court', okay?)

The difference between a real family and an online one is that the latter is optional, totally self-inflicted not only in general but moment-to-moment. You can invest, emotionally, exactly as much as you want to, and selectively. You can focus on the good, the support, the beta-reading, funny comments and charity anthologies. And if the bitching gets too much you can click a button and go straight to instead.

Digital families are, in many ways, much easier to love because they are much easier to ignore when you just happen to be in a crappy mood--and they don't have a key to your house. If anything the Internet is much easier to regulate, chill down and keep on the sunny side that the intrusively corporeal real world. That is probably why I enjoy forums and blogs so much. That is probably why I don't get too worried about snark or bad reviews. Because I can pick and choose. If I start feeling a bit bummed by a site, I just stay away for a week and by the time I come back all the posts on the front page are new.

So I guess the long and the short of it is, I really like hanging with my online peeps. And when I don't, its on me--I can leave any time. Clearly I don't want to. Did that make any sense? :)

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