9/20/2007

As Bloggers Collide

I sometimes wonder if what the technology naysayers keep arguing is true--are they correct in chiding the Internet for dehumanizing users and separating us from one another? Have some of us spot-welded ourselves into a place where we value the digital experience more so than real life, in detriment of our human condition? I’ve heard it said by some techno-geeks that their Second Life is much more exciting than their regular life; and yesterday, I found myself reading a post in Gawker about a high-profile break-up between two bloggers that “sent Internets reeling.” It was one of the most popular stories of the day on Gawker: A couple of Internet-spawned pseudo-celebrities had made their falling out a public affair through various acrimonious, snobby, and ridiculous blog posts. And after eyeballing the comments, I confirmed with amazement just what the title of the post declared with deadpan assurance—the breakup did in fact throw many an Internet user into a tizzy.

So who are these bloggers that Gawker has focused so much attention on? Julia what? Jakob who? Why do some people care so much about these totally random (and unattractive) people? Does anyone even know them in real life? How much sway do they have over the digital landscape that makes the announcement of their breakup more appealing to Gawker readers that the latest Britney post? I wonder if these two former “lovers” ever even met each other outside of the blogosphere. Maybe they never consummated their now defunct relationship, aside from a few attempts at cybersex. Or maybe they’ve gotten so good at cybering they don’t feel the need to go at it in real life? Scary thought.

Behold a snippet of text from the breakup e-mail that did the relationship in:

“I am not capable of giving you what you deserve in a relationship, even an ‘alternative’ relationship, so, we should stop seeing each other.”

Um, what? I wonder what the dude means by ‘alternative.” I wonder if by “stop seeing each other” he means to stop IM’ing each other and to put and end to cheesy photo-sharing. I wonder if by “not capable of giving you what you deserve in a relationship” he is implying that he could never pry himself away from his computer long enough to rendezvous with her in real life.

Online break-ups make good drama, and even though I didn’t know these people when I started reading the Gawker post, I was immediately enthralled by the story and unexpectedly pulled into their lives—I definitely know who they are now. In the future, if I see a post on Julia Allison or Jakob Lodwick, I’ll probably check it out. Is this keeping me from living a life of my own, or does it just mean I’m hip to the times and that I know how to leverage online to add significance to and enjoy my life offline? I'm really hoping it's the latter...

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