13 October 2005

Online Friends vs Offline Friends

I guess I would credit the inspiration of this post to Zhiyang's recent blog entry. It was an open letter to Willowink aka Wonky Tong lamenting her sudden disappearance from the blogosphere without a trace.

Willowink and I have been pretty good online friends for a while but had it not been the incident where her blog kena hacked by her fellow co-worker, did she retreated back to obscurity. I can tell the severity of the impact of this incident to her. It wasn't just a random perpetrator as in the case of Bandung Vader, who decided to take her site down. It was somebody from the very same office that she goes to every working day. In other words, the perpetrator was there right in front of her in flesh and blood. It wasn't a random act of cyber-terror. It was pre-mediated and targeted on her and her alone.

Ok, up to this point, I am going to take a detour and travel back in time to trace my first ever online friend. The year was 1993 and his name was Leonard. It was the time before consumer internet and the time Bulletin Board Services (BBS) were flourishing all over the island. Leonard was also from NTU where I was also an undergrad and in the same Hall 3 as well. Ironically, despite our close physical proximity, I got to know him through our modems (yah... damn geeky... I know :( ).

We spent more time chatting on the BBS than actually meeting up and became good online pals. Perhaps it was also this that kickstarted my online writing "career" where he set up a forum/column on his BBS for me to write stuff. I guess back then, it was symbiotic in the sense that he provides a platform for me to write my stuff and I draw in more traffic to his BBS because of this forum/column.

We gradually lost touch when we graduated as we were getting all caught up with our careers. However, I think the real reason for the demise of this friendship is the demise of the BBS with the introduction of the internet for the masses.

I guess the actual message that I want to get across here in this blog is that:

Online Friendship Don't Last.

I refer to my earlier blog (Fellowship Of The Rings), that online friends have the ability to get very close to you i.e. the inner rings, very quickly but they also can skid off the rings into oblivion just as quickly.

Kinda reminded me of a aeroplane trying to land on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. The plane will come in fast and land on the deck with a very forceful impact. Problem is that the plane, in this instance, lacked the presence of a tailhook which resulted in failure to stop in time and fall off into the sea at the other end.

So essentially, what is this tailhook in this context? I would say that it is the face-to-face meeting i.e. establishing this friendship in real life.

I realised that no matter how pally you can get with an online friend, this friendship will never be cemented without a meet-up proper. I am not saying that a meet-up will guarantee a lasting friendship but at least it will stand a better chance of surviving. Too many times do we get along swell with someone online, only to fizzle out after a couple of months. The end of the "honeymoon" period perhaps? The settling of the dust? The dissipation of the euphoria?

I also understand the hesitation of some online friends who have a no-meet policy and prefer to remain in the safety of the shadows. This way, one will not risk meeting undesirable online friends who initiate a meet-up solely for the purpose of "checking you out". The result to the injury is probably when the so-called "friend" is the one who decided to "disappear" thereafter.

Well, I can't speak for everybody but I am sure online-who-later-became-offline friends like Andy, Sheena, Jaslyn, AKK, Zeenie, WibbleWamble, hitomi, Kelawar (just to name a few) can attest that I am not one of those so-called "undesirables". My intentions are purely noble. I just wanna make more friends to share a laugh together. Period.

Anyway, I just booked my air tickets back to Singapore today and I guess I will re-open my "booking time-sheet" as the date draws nearer. Let's see who else I can get to say "Glad to meet you!" this time round. Vandice? Nadnut? Vanna? mihuatang? ZheBin? JasChocolate? Anyone?

Coming back to this topic, I realised that making online friends is like pouring water into a porous sieve. You keep the ones who stayed and you let go of the one who slipped away. Such is the law of the jungle.

So coming back to Willowink. I am sorry to see you disappear like that. Just hope that you are ok wherever you are. Drop by to say hi whenever you are available and if you are gone forever, so it shall be.

Au revoir, mon amis.

- Voxeros

1. Pam left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 12:19 am
i trust i don't have to make a booking?!?!! is friday night on? or do i see you on sat?

2. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 2:12 am :: 
Pam: Wah... you quite the kancheong spider here har?
Saturday is definitely for you lah. but as for Friday, can you like wait for booking time sheet to open first?
Seriously, you are doing my ego "TOO MUCH" good. heh heh..... :P

3. RV Girl left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 9:09 am
i agree that online frens fade faster.
but when i have a no-meet policy, it isn't becos of the fear of meeting someone who wants to 'check me out' then insult me by 'leaving'. it's really just becos I fear a larger invasion of my (pretty invaded) offline life via the online one.
the thing is, I know I'll enjoy the company of online frens, which i really do now, but OTOH, i need to also balance my offline life.

4. zeenie left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 9:43 am
good to hear that you're coming back again, look forward to meeting up if your booking sheet got space!

5. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 10:14 am :: 
RV Girl: Interesting point made there. I wonder if anyone else shares the same sentiments or have a different angle to look at this?

6. Vandice left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 11:06 am ::
Aiyoh... buay sai lah... Ah Bang next year then come back yah?

7. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 11:27 am ::
Zeenie: Yeah. Looking forward to coming back. Must remind myself to scale down group size though. :)

vandice: Ok lah... next year also can.

8. Pam left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 3:36 pm were the one that brought up going out on friday!!! :) aka before saturday's do! nebermind...

9. vanna left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 3:44 pm
yes... i am waiting to convert that online friendship to real friendship..
this time round, MUST MAKE SURE I SEE U...

10. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 4:15 pm :: 
Pam: Dum dee dum dee dum......

Vanna: Lai lai! Who scared who? Turtle scared hammer!

11. Sheena left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 4:45 pm
YAY!!! You're coming back!!! Hurray!!!
And I wanna see Gabe again. =(

12. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 5:17 pm :: 
Sheena: You still be around then right? When you flying to Australia?

13. nadnut left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 5:31 pm ::
ill be most honoured to meet you...
lai lai! 2 for one deal lah!
akk + nadnut! hahahaa. later akk whack me later.. =X

14. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 5:45 pm :: 
nadnut: Ok lah... ONZE! I bring Ch1na redbull for you to try.
Akk + Nadnut = One sling left shoulder, one sling right shoulder....
... confirm sure kena hernia one....

15. nadnut left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 5:47 pm ::
hahahaa. say until like that!
china redbull? woah.
faster!!!!!!!!!!! i wanna see u!

16. JayWalk left...
Friday, 14 October 2005 5:54 pm :: 
nadnut: Alamak... air ticket booked for Pam's wedding liao lah... cannot faster hurry liao lah.
Keep your knickers on!! :P

17. Jaslyn left...
Saturday, 15 October 2005 12:06 am ::
Papa..When coming back? Dec? If I rem correctly. Dont forget to "chop" 1 space on ur "escort" time sheet hor! Hahaa..Then got my Deek kor kor & Alex ah-going some more. Hahaa

18. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 15 October 2005 12:38 am :: 
Jaslyn: Wah.... I more ang pai than I thought siah. At the rate I am going, I think no need time sheet liao!

19. akk left...
Saturday, 15 October 2005 1:07 am
hmm...your entry may be about the speedy loss of offline frens...but this sure isn't happening here. and dun sling me lah! u'll break ur legs one...
nad: hahaha...whack for what? have joy, must share!

20. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 15 October 2005 9:25 am :: 
Akk: Acherly hor, it was more on lamenting about the transient nature of such friendships where it can lift you up to cloud nine and yet just as easily, pull the rug from underneath you.

21. nadnut left...
Saturday, 15 October 2005 10:57 am ::
when u coming over!!! lets fix a date!

22. Jaschocolate left...
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 9:44 pm
Daddy, should be able to meet u bah.. but then i so shy so will be very quiet.. let's practice staring at each other, ok?

23. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 20 October 2005 1:54 am :: 
nadnut: My air tix is booked. I am heading back on 16 Dec.

Jaschocolate: 你看我, 我看你 ah? Ok lor. Lai lai... first one to blink buy drinks. :)

24. Jaschocolate left...
Friday, 21 October 2005 10:56 pm
Wa lao.. made that first one to stop blinking have to buy drink ba.. Daddy, i no money le.. Dont bully me lah.. haha :p

25. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 22 October 2005 10:43 am :: 
Jaschocolate: alamak you have a few month to train to open your eyes big big lah.... I where got bully you? :P

26. jaschocolate left...
Wednesday, 26 October 2005 9:40 pm
U ALWAYS BULLY PPL ONE!!! Dont friend u liao..

27. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 27 October 2005 11:02 am ::
Jaschocolate: Where got bully? Ask your papa and mama, I where got bully people one?

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