Living Out Loud

The People We Meet Online


When it comes to online interaction with other people, I couldn't tell you what exactly what I'm looking for because I don't have an exact goal. I enjoy getting to know about the folks I interact with but it's not 100% necessary. We can have those 30,000-foot conversations if that's where you're at. I like to know the general area where people live because they might be able to answer questions about places I might like to travel to one day. It helps me to think of them in a certain space. I like knowing people's general line of work. I don't care about the name of the company, and I draw a big line between what people do and who they are. I just think it's interesting to understand someone's profession a wee bit. I've worked in IT for 30 years but not around startups or web developers or developers of any sort outside of a few contract folks here and there.

I'm cool with people writing about their families. I read an account today about a friend's mother and her amazing international culinary skills picked up while living around the world as member of the military. I talked with another friend who was with his son at college orientation. I know someone who picks up extra chores at home to help with their partner's mental health struggles. It's all good. It's the stuff that makes me people real, that makes them human, that makes the relatable.

I know more out LGBT folks online than I do in my day to day to spaces. It just comes up here more often. I haven't had any conversations about Pride at work, but I've had several on Mastodon and in blog comments. I told someone the story today of the first time I ever heard a label put on a gay relationship, when Billy Crystal played a gay character on the TV show Soap in the 70s. I knew some same sex couples before then, but I'd nerve heard them called anything but their names.

I've got to say that most of the places I've ventured so far on the IndyWeb have been pretty white. There are some POC on and I have a few friends on Mastodon who aren't as pasty as I am but there's definitely room for more in my online life. I live in one of the most racially diverse areas in my state, so I don't have to try hard there to avoid lily-white spaces. Sometimes we have to be intentional if we really want to have intersectional relationships online.

One thing I don't have right now are interactions with what I used to think of as principled conservatives. It's not that I don't know people who are more conservative than me, most people are I think, it's just that I no longer have anyone who votes Republican to talk to online. People throw their hands up and bemoan polarization, but I just don't know what I would say to someone who wants to cut social spending and give rich people tax cuts, who thinks immigrants are dirty and that the poor are lazy. I still know some Republicans IRL, mostly from relationships that go back years and in no way revolve around politics. I haven't kicked anyone out of my life and don't plan to. I'm fine with being in an echo chamber online, if that's what anyone wants to call it. I just don't want to hear modern Republican's (or Tories either) defend the direction of their party.

I'm up for talking about most anything with the people I've met so far. Tech is fine. Blogging is fine. Real life stuff is fine. Tell me the good books you've read or the movies you've seen and liked. Tell me what your scared of or what your five-year plan is. I'll listen. I'm here to learn and to share. I think it is worth the investment of time.