Since childhood, we are taught not to acknowledge strangers. Any food they offer should not be taken and any smile they flash should not be returned. And maybe this is why I have been rather ashamed to admit that I make friends online, some unknown homo sapiens on the other side of the computer screen.
You could say I grew up online, for most of my time has been spent discovering new social networking sites and making sure I had an account on every one of the e-mail service websites. And once when I was exploring new folds of the internet I developed enough courage to reply to a text from a stranger and since then I have been unable to pull myself away. Be it about differences in cultures or education systems, opinions on Youtubers or anime, or just useless chatter, a conversation with my virtual pen-pals always seems so interesting.
There is something about talking to new people that is very fascinating, especially when you cannot see or hear each other originally. It is just an exchange of words, words that speak so much more than one’s voice or one’s looks. Sometimes the probability of the person on the other side being a terrorist seeps into my mind and it lingers for a while, but that thought fades away as quickly as it comes, for I convince myself saying that it is not half as dangerous as it appears and that I have nothing to worry about. And moreover, it seems like too much to forego against the zest it gives.
Half this pleasure can be experienced by conversing with people you actually do know in real life, but whilst not revealing who you are to them. I usually do this by pranking my school friends and when one of them asked me who I was, I found myself saying “I like to keep my identity hidden, for I can shape myself into anything I would like in your mind. Had you known who I am, my words would be perceived in a way you think I am.”
Isn’t that true? When we are texting or talking to someone we know, we judge their words keeping that person in mind. In fact, we even imagine those words in their voice. But when you don’t know who the other person actually is, it is like writing on a clean slate. No presumptions. No expectations.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that this freedom of being whatever I want to be, cannot be possible in reality that I find myself drawn to conversing with virtual friends.
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