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Hypergene MediaBlog » When virtual friends become real
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When virtual friends become real

Thursday night I found myself milling about at the State of Play conference hosted at NYLS. That’s when I noticed the shoes.

"Howard, it’s me Chris Willis.”
“Chris? Is that you?"
Occasionally, Shayne and I blog on Howard Rheingold’s site, smartmobs.com. But, during the past two years, we had only briefely met him once.

When you meet someone in person that you have only known through virtual means, it can be a bit is unsettling. It takes a few moments to establish an emotional connection and then begin resolving the online persona you’ve imagined with the real person standing in front of you.

This happened several more times during the evening.

It was then that, Howard suggested that we need a new term for this.

Our friend Ron Biggs, an information architect and psycholinguist, suggested: Transfiguration (decidely religious overtones), devirtualization or devirts (maybe diverts), for short.

Karen Stephenson, said she wanted to think about it but liked classifying people we know as: onliners, offliners and mertroliners.

This small anecdote suggests something that we are seeing more of lately. Language is not keeping up with what we are experiencing or trying to imagine.

Posted on Oct 10, 2005 | 3:26 am EST

READER COMMENTS


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I started talking about a new term for blog buddies in May of this year: http://everythingandnothing.typepad.com/mississippi/2005/05/blog_buddies.html

My blogger friends and I have been working on it for a while now and still have nothing that would knock anyone’s socks off. It’s harder than it looks.

Posted by: Shawn Lea on Oct 10, 05 | 5:11 pm EST

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It is difficult, and I think that means we’re on to something.

Posted by: chris on Oct 11, 05 | 3:14 am EST

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Yes, and I think we also need a word for that first moment of meeting that you talk about...where your mind is trying to mesh online impressions and real-life ones together.

Posted by: Shawn Lea on Oct 11, 05 | 11:17 am EST

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It is difficult, and I think that means we’re on to something.

Posted by: Dron on Nov 04, 05 | 8:00 pm EST

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It was then that, Howard suggested that we need a new term for this.

Posted by: Jon on Nov 20, 05 | 9:12 pm EST

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