Encounters of the Misty Kind

It has to be apparent I love technology and have a special fondness for the Web. But it’s not just because it feeds this info junkie’s habit, it’s also for the people I’ve met. From the first time I participated in a bulletin board using 80 byte files that were appended and all in lovely monochrome display, I’ve been hooked on communicating with people who had a shared interest and wanted to talk about it, to offer some knowledge or glean some knowledge from others. For those who have never participated in something like that, they usually don’t get it. They usually don’t understand that it’s possible to form relationships where you are edified by others whom you never see or hear. I do hate that I can’t hear your voices, and that’s the chief reason I wanted to do voice as my subject for last year’s FanstRAvaganza. I’m deeply affected by what I hear. Much more than by what I see.

But even if I have never heard your voice, I am affected by what many of you have typed into your keyboards, and I’ve come to know some of you and know you’re real people with real lives which have highs and lows. I never forget that when I’m online. So when one of you goes away and there’s no clue as to where you went, it leaves a hole where you used to be. I’m never quite sure what to do with that. Part of me thinks I should adopt society’s demeanor and throw you away and move on, but I’ll never be able to do that, because I don’t want to do that.

Years ago I participated in a forum and one of the members who became an online buddy was a gentleman named Fred. He was a delight and had such wisdom. Everyone on that site loved him, and then one day Fred stopped talking, and for months we wondered what happened. Only one of the forum members had ever talked to Fred offline, and he offered to find out what he could. It was a long time before that member got a response and came back to tell us that Fred had died and his family sent us a message. I’m so glad they did that, and whether Fred really died or not (I’ll never know the truth of that), he was dead to us, and we could mourn him and not just throw him away in our minds.

That incident had such an effect on me that I’ve left instructions with my will that in the event anything happens to me, SO is to get online and say goodbye. When I told him about that, I thought he would laugh, but to his credit, he understands relationships whether online or not and knows how very important it is to gain closure. I’ve now worked with countless people who have experienced death of a loved one, and closure is imperative. If someone can’t say goodbye, they’re never over it. In the case of being online, I think it’s as important for the one leaving cyber space to say goodbye as it is for those left behind. So I hope our friend will at least give herself a chance to say it’s been fun, but I’ve got to go, and take care.

More thoughts on this later and in regard to Richard Armitage and his relationship with fans in cyber space and beyond. For now a close up of a fan’s encounter with RA:

[click to enlarge]

Spooks behind the scenes candid shot courtesy of KuchingGirl