I haven’t thought too deeply about the kind of audience I’m writing to with these posts (and everything else I put on the internet, for that matter).
I suppose I imagine my readers to be much like an old friend or a pen pal, someone who I can feel comfortable sharing more personal parts of my life with.
Regarding the weekly reading about public spaces online, I could refer to this website’s audience as many things; a public, a niche, a community of like-minded people, or perhaps just some curious classmates and friends.
In terms of my online identity, I can be self-indulgent in the presentation of my profiles and blogs. I make a lot of design choices that are broadly accessible but which ultimately speak to my own preferences, especially when it comes to colours. I also spend time refining how I appear and what information I’m choosing to put onto the internet.
We were also presented with a prompt in class which concerned our familiarity with romantic relationships online. I didn’t feel comfortable having everyone’s eyes on me at the time, but the distance now allows me to share a past experience of mine.
I had an online relationship for almost a year before we broke up. My girlfriend at the time lived in Indiana, but she was planning to move in with me after her next birthday. Even though we could only voice chat before then, I still considered it a very real relationship. However, this was my first time dating someone, so it’s hard to compare it to someone I could’ve met offline at that stage in my life.
There were advantages to long-distance, such as realizing we both had a crush only because we happened to be messaging the same mutual friend to get advice. Introducing each other to our friend groups was also fairly seamless, since we could just join a server and meet everyone all at once.
Of course, there were less-than-ideal parts as well, such as the obvious lack of physical contact and needing to remember the difference in time zones. Sending each other gifts also came at the steep cost of shipping to and from Canada.
I don’t usually bring up this relationship anymore since we didn’t end on the best terms, and a lot of people dismiss online or long-distance relationships as a whole. I don’t know if I’ll ever date someone on the internet again, but I don’t think I’ll disregard the idea entirely. I think a larger concern of mine would be whether it’s the right person or time for a relationship.
This is admittedly more of a shorter process post since I’ve been pretty busy, but I’ll be sure to have more to write about next week!
Michael Warner (2002) Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version), Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88:4, 413-425, DOI: 10.1080/00335630209384388