A post on life people vs. net people

I realized today that the there’s a price to pay for devoting so much energy to the internet.  Your real friends become overlapped by the people you interact with online.  I’ll go one step further and even say that your life friends don’t know nearly as much about you as the net friends do.  How sad is that?  And by sad I don’t mean ‘loserish’ I mean the every essence of the word ‘sad’.

My life people don’t know that I’m stressed out, for example.  Because if I picked up the phone to B to tell her that I was about to have my head implode from the stress of starting a magazine, she wouldn’t even know what I was talking about.  One of my twitter friends, however, would offer their assistance or ask if they could have some of my boobs before I blew.  Because it’s easy to type in a life update within 140 characters.  Not so easy to fit the background story and explanation into a phone call.

On the other hand, there’s also a price to be had for being SheBee, the blogger.  Life people know that I have my ups and my downs and that mostly I can be totally eccentric and crass and loud and insane, but they also know that I more often than not do know how to chill, have normal conversations, and have the ability to be serious and sometimes even responsible and mature. They know how I react to One Tree Hill and they know what my favourite flavour milkshake is.

One of the things I’ve noticed most about meeting people in real life after knowing them online is that they fully prepare themselves for SheBee, and not Sheena.  When I do have a conversation with them, they’re surprised I’m normal. For instance, if I jumped up and started drilling a waitress about her tattoo* my net people wouldn’t bat an eyelid – because that’s SheBee, she does the unexpected.  But if I sit and have a quiet dinner**, discuss things like politics and literature, my net people remark on how different I am in real life.

The downside is that I have been told on numerous occasions that I invest too much time into my writing, into my computer, onto the internet.  Writing a book or updating my blog doesn’t seem relevant to them.  My life people feel cheated, apparently.  My life people feel that I live in my own world.  My life people, don’t get the SheBee part of me either.  “How do you come up with so much to talk about all day to strangers, Sheena? Aren’t you paranoid?  Don’t you feel weird about knowing all these people without having met them?” are just a few things I’m asked on a regular basis.

And the answer is, no – I don’t feel weird.  Because I may not know that X has freckles in real life, but I do know that he’s wonderfully loyal to the woman he loves.  I may not know that Y has 4 sugars in her coffee, but I do know that she needs to be stoned in order to write.  Because they told me so.  Because we’ve come to know each other on an intellectual level.  Because on the internet, physical appearance, creed, race and age does not matter. We all have a common goal: get our voices out there as much as we can, to as many people as possible, get other peoples voices understood in a way that we resonate with.

I may look like I’m in my own world most of the time but it’s okay – people know me here.


* True story.

** Also true story.<–>

9 comments

  1. Louisa says:

    I can totally relate to this post. Most of my life friends do not understand how I can get along with “perfect strangers” online and even look forward to meeting them in person at every chance I get. But they’re not strangers, they know me and I know them through the writing.

    It’s not that I don’t have normal day-to-day budds. Hell knows I can hardly keep up with all of them as it is. It’s just different and hard to explain, but having a place to vent and say what you want to without anyone judging or feeling hurt by it is sometimes nice, or sharing stuff that other people won’t necessarily get or enjoy as much as you do is great too.

    I guess everyone knows you to a certain extent. And they can only know the bits that you are willing to show them?

  2. Nafisa says:

    Hey, you’re not the only one. I feel like my blog friends know more about me than my friends who arent online. I’m not the type to pick up the phone and tell my friends every detail of my life.

    I think they just need to get with the times and get online, seriously. I tell my family to check my facebook status on updates of my life. Sad / not sad? I dont know, I do spend more time online than socializing with people. I’m happy with the way things are.

    I also think its easier to share info with strangers.

  3. Justin says:

    Completely agree with you on this one. I have been online since, wow, 1998 in fact, 11 years. And i have met 100s of people online, the majority are now real life friends as well and they get me, more than my face to face meetup friends 🙂 Being online gives me a world that I can control, a world that I can shut off at anytime if it gets too tough, not that it does, but the option is there. Kudos the Internet gods 🙂

  4. Justin says:

    Completely agree with you on this one. I have been online since, wow, 1998 in fact, 11 years. And i have met 100s of people online, the majority are now real life friends as well and they get me, more than my face to face meetup friends 🙂 Being online gives me a world that I can control, a world that I can shut off at anytime if it gets too tough, not that it does, but the option is there. Kudos to the Internet gods 🙂

  5. Johnny Cordova says:

    I’m pretty much the same on-line as I am in real life. Though of course you have to tone it down a little in mixed company. I’m just as outspoken and polarizing. It’s taken years to master…

    JC

  6. Po says:

    Nice one shebee. I love the part about how all barriers fall away. That is what attracted me to blogging in the first place.

    I wouldnt feel my day is complete if I didn’t catch up on the people in my computer.

  7. StevenMcD says:

    In all honestly, I think I value more of my online friends than real-life friends for that exact reason. My online buddies know whats going on and real life buddies couldn’t be bothered.

  8. angel says:

    Stunning post… truly. And me being a fan of shebeeliciousness herself, I am obligated to say I think you’re fargin fantastic…
    But honestly, I was not at all suprised or disappointed by the Sheena/ Shebee I met in real life.

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