I chose to return to blogging the morning after I spent an evening with a bunch of writers. It was a good evening. A really good one. But that means I'm blogging late at night (because I've been writing like a fiend for the past few days and didn't plan posts ahead).
|I gave him an ARC of SANCTUM.|
Commence anxious freakout in 3...2...
I find the relation between expectations and reality rather fascinating. There is plenty of research that shows how crucial expectations are in shaping our perceptions of reality. And I guess my expectations for the evening were borne out, because I expected Kristen and Matt to be awesome and they absolutely were (if you don't follow them yet, you should).
But certain moments throughout the evening reminded me how our online personas gradually take shape in the minds of others, little bits and pieces that coalesce into a solid impression. Like when Kristen stated that she was kind of surprised that I seemed so able to talk to people because I often mention how introverted and shy I am here on the blog.
I mean, I live in my skin, so that's pretty funny to me, because I make my living talking to people, and I'm usually able to function in social situations with a minimum of awkward (note that I did not say NO awkward). However, what goes on inside me--the part of me that takes place in my own head--is what I often describe on my blog and on Twitter, and that's all Kristen had to go on. My inside experience. It affected her expectations. She maybe (you'd have to ask her) expected the inside me, but she met the outside me. Both of them are real, of course, but only one of them is visible. The other ... you just have to take my word for it. We all have that kind of thing going on, right? (right?!?)
Online, we get the chance to describe ourselves to others, both to show and to tell. It's a unique opportunity, this melding of synthetic and organic. I'd say it's the opportunity to create a completely synthetic self, but I don't believe that. Personality leaves its fingerprints all over the place. But sometimes, when we meet in person, it takes a while to reconcile the show with the tell.
Has this happened to you? Have you been caught by surprise when meeting an online acquaintance/friend in person for the first time? What were your expectations and how did they compare to reality?