#RIPDIRKTALAMASCA “He had once thought it was strange to have a friend you'd never met. Now it was even stranger, losing a friend you'd never really had”
― Tad Williams, City of Golden Shadow“Our lives aren't even about doing real things most of the time. We think and talk about people we've never met, pretend to visit places we've never actually been, to discuss things that are just names as though they were as real as rocks or animals or something. Information Age. Hell it's the Imagination Age. We're living in our own minds.No, she decided as the plane began its steep descent, really we're living in other people's minds.”
― Tad Williams, Mountain of Black Glass“Remember that each light between sunrise and sunset is worth dying for at least once.”
― Tad Williams, Shadowrise
I remember several years ago when I started being active in this strange thing called "Social Media." Talking about events here felt like when my relatives who watched too much TV could only share anecdotes from the shows they watched. I felt an embarrassment of talking about these "friends" as if they were the adult version of imaginary friends. There were always those who thought of the people they knew on the Internet as being somehow less real than those they knew "IRL" (a term I've grown to hate).
Then several things happened that changed how I viewed this "virtual" world:
- Friends and acquaintances I knew offline were revealed to have been living double lives. They shared a mask with us, but they were no more "real" even though we knew each other in the physical world, shook hands, hugged, and looked each other in the eyes.
- The interactions I was having online were having greater meaning. Sometimes I found that even with people I knew offline, my interactions with them online achieved a much greater depth. The biggest example of this was when I gained twin daughters from Mumbai, India. Since our initial interactions, we have talked on the phone, prayed together, and been in video chats together. These activities only served to strengthen a relationship of father/daughter that already existed.
- One of the friends I made on Tumblr was a sweet teenage girl. One night the car she was riding in was in a fluke single-car accident that killed both her and the driver. I found that the grief I experienced from her loss was every bit as "real" as if we had instead met at church or in a coffee house.
If the people I knew offline could be revealed to have only been wearing some mask, and if the people I knew online could bring real Joy & Sorrow into my heart, then why would these people that I knew in virtual environments be somehow less real than the people I met face-to-face? The answer was simple. They weren't "imaginary friends." They were every bit as real to me & every bit as significant whether we met via bytes or atoms.
Today we lost one of the Google+ mainstays, +Dirk Talamasca
. Dirk may have used a nom de plume, but his friendship, warmth & humor were real. His loss hurts, and I'm reminded that the friendships & events here matter. The grief is real. My love for him and for all of you is real. I'm grateful for my friendship with Dirk & the time we had, and I am grateful for each of you. Sharing joys, struggles, victories, and heartbreaks with all of you has had a lasting impact on me.
Blessings & (((HUGS)))