When it comes to online Bloggers.....you don't know them until you KNOW them.
I blog on several websites.
Each with its own feel and reason forbeing in place. Some are more politically driven, some geared more toward women's issues and still others of a more generic social venue. Nothing more than a place for men and women to gather and discuss life.
On one particular site where people blog and vlog (video blogs) there is a man that almost all the women on the site were drawn to. I'm not one for falling for a man just because I like the way he blogs, but this guy I must admit I found myself intrigued by. I like a well read guy, and the manner in which he expressed himself was wonderful. Each of his blogs were like reading a mini novel, he had a way of turning a phrase that painted a beautiful picture. The computer screen was his canvas and his typewritten words his art.
The photos he would post of himself were very handsome. He has beautiful eyes that were intoxicating, and women on the site never missed a moment to tell him so. He would respond each time as if no one had ever told him that. And that was a red flag for me. Most people who receive compliments all the time have a way of responding to a compliment that is pretty basic. There is never a hint of shock that someone is complimenting them, you simply say "Thank you" and move on. But this guy......this guy seemed genuinely surprised anyone would think he was handsome. I found that odd.
Over time I think he became emboldened by all the compliments and the next thing we knew he made the decision to post a vlog. And with that decision there was an audible "POOF!" as all our preconceived ideas of what he was really like evaporated. It was the equivalent of looking at the photo of George Clooney, drooling over his good looks, and then watching a video of him and seeing a complete and total geek speaking. The conflict of a handsome face and dorky personality clashed.
This guy who had become a virtual sex God in our minds, one that had women all over the site working ourselves up into a frenzy with wonder over what he was really like....he had finally come from behind the big curtain to reveal himself. What was the Mighty Oz really like?
For me it was confirmation that I am good at reading people. He was shocked that he was receiving so many compliments because this was a man that surely never received them in real life. His face was filled with acne. The photos he had posted were definitely air brushed. He wore very thick coke bottled glasses, a horrible head of hair and his voice....oh that voice.....it was high pitched and effeminate. To say he was shy and awkward is an understatement.
I still read his posts to this day, but others....not so much. Women turned on this poor guy like he had cheated on them.
There is a lesson in this story. In the world we live in where people become virtual friends with strangers online. We read countless blogs from people daily, look at photos and avatars and think we have a sense of what they are like. We read the words of strangers and their words and opinions resonate within us, and for many people that isn't enough. We want to know more about them. Some turn to Google and we scour the internet trying to find any and all information about that person that piqued our curiosity. Trying our best to fill in the gaps of our impression of this mystery person.
I have had countless online stalkers. Maybe it's because I blog and spend so much of my life online, it is only natural for some people to be curious about me. For me I dismiss such actions, I recognize it comes with putting myself out there. Putting my opinions, photos and videos online, it will of course result in a bit of curiosity by some. Not one to hide, I don't particular care. Just as I had made the mistake of thinking I knew the guy I described, many think they know me simply because of my photos and words.
But they don't. And can't.
You can "Friend" someone on FaceBook. You can send tweets on Twitter. You can connect with countless people on countless online social venues all you want. But until you know someone away from the computer, you don't know them. Until you have looked a person in the eyes, spoken with them, you really don't know them. And that's okay if all you are seeking is a virtual friend. However it is important never to blur the line between virtual and reality.
You don't know someone until you know someone.