I heard the funniest song today and, although it's not recent, I hadn't heard it before. It's called Online by Brad Paisley and I've attached the video below, but you can also link to it here or search "Online Brad Paisley" on YouTube to find it. The official video is a riot!
Basically, the song is about someone who has exaggerated the truth about who he is and created an online persona based on what he thinks he should be...or would like to be as the video shows. Since I feel like I spend the majority of my life online these days it got me to thinking about the people I "know" online and how much what they've told me about themselves is true.
Now, to go back, keep in mind that I've been chatting online since the days of GEnie. I think GEnie was the first, or at least close to being one of the first online sites. It was the precursor to things like AOL. I'm sure that even then there were people lying about their identities, but I was too young and naive to know or really care.
I bring that up, because that experience also did something else. It started friendships with people I would have otherwise never met. And some of those friendships are closer now than they ever were. You may have seen Jer comment on my posts before. He's one of those people I "met" decades ago and who I still run to with questions and worries. A true friend, though I think we've only actually met, what, Jer? Once? Somehow, it just doesn't seem to matter, because we've talked a thousand times over throughout the years. And I know that if I truly needed his help, he'd be here, just like I would be for him.
So, when it comes to exaggerating and creating fake and phony personas online, I'm completely against it. I can tell you, from experience, that the best friendships grow from just being yourself. There's no need to be anyone than who you are. I would much rather find out your favorite food is sardines (God help you) than to be told it's Mexican, because it sounds like a better answer (can you tell I love Mexican food?).
I can also promise that the words you read, the things I tell you about myself are true. I have no reason to lie about being someone I'm not, because I learned from people like Jer, that the only friendships that can be sustained online are those that begin in truth. So, when I tell you I love old cars and had the best time driving them, it's the truth. When I say I've missed chatting with you, I have. And when I tell you that I cherish your friendship, I do, without a doubt.
And I hope that the things that you all tell me are equally as true. Because this online part of my life is just as real as what goes on outside of my Pentium processing, Windows Vista running Lenovo ThinkPad....and the iPhone that needs to be surgically removed from my hand. And the joy and pleasure I get from knowing you is felt just as deeply as if you were in the same room. And when you hurt and worry, so do I. It just doesn't matter to me that I haven't physically met you, because you are already important to me. It's that simple.
For me, some of my very best friends really do live in my computer.
Now go watch the video....it will crack you up! xoxoxo