There, I said it. I have a love/hate relationship to virtual social networking – my virtual life. I love blogging. It’s my existence in the virtual universe. It’s my discussion to.. whoever will listen. The thing is that many of my real-life friends don’t blog. And while they might occasionally read my blog, they rarely leave a comment, but they might call me “hey I read about this and that, and just wanted to say..” And we might talk an hour. So even if the conversation isn’t traditional – we still communicate, and that’s great! Then there are those friends, relatives or co-workers, who never admit they read our blogs, but thanks to visitor tracking, we bloggers know you are there, peeking into our lives. That’s ok too. Because at least if you ain’t communicating to me – I am still expressing my views to you. Maybe someday you will open up too. The best about virtual social networking is – you get to know people who you would never get to know in real life – not even if they lived on your street. We all have our prejudices, even if we would never admit it (or want that), they inhibit us reaching out to some people, who we think “we don’t anything in common”. While virtual networking lets us to restrict what we show and tell, and it lets us to present the kind of picture of us, we would like to show, it also gives many people the freedom to say aloud what we really think. Or, do you ever blog about things you would never dare to say aloud? (I know I do) I just started blogging last summer. And while my friends are bloggers, and we are all devoted to blogging, and many of us wouldn’t dare to admit, blogging is so old school. At least in the traditional way – now people twitter, aka micro-blog. Like any internet junkie, I wanted more. The discussion forums, the e-mailing, the IMs, and blogging made me want to try MySpace, Flickr, Maya’s Mom, and I started sharing my shopping finds in sites like Stylehive or This Next and my favorite blog posts at Sk-rt. And I tried tons of other social networking sites, just to know what it’s all about. I have seen you there too, my fellow blogger. And I’m on Facebook now. Or should I say, I’m into Facebook now. What makes Facebook different is that I re-connect with old high school friends and co-workers from back in the days there too – and make new friends in virtual reality. It is a place where virtual and real friendships interface more than in any other place. I’m still learning Facebook, and now trying to take on StumbleUpon too. I started thinking that virtual reality is just too big for me to take on. There is always a new site, always a new network, and I feel like I’m always behind. Have I have created a rat race of virtual networking to myself? But then again, I met my best girlfriend in the internet a few years ago, and visited her in New York City last year and met her first-time face to face. I reconnected with old school friends. A few internet friends have visited me here in Colorado, and I’m going to meet some of my internet friends in Texas this spring. I have made most of my business contacts this way, and my business wouldn’t exist without virtual social networking. I feel like over half of my existence is virtual. I laugh, I cry, I help people out, I connect, I work, I shop, I do almost everything in the internet. I know you do too – I’ve seen you all over the internet. Is this good or bad? Sometimes I feel it’s really bad – I should quit blogging and just call a friend for a cup of coffee and chat face to face. But I’m at the Mountains, she on the East Coast. Luckily I can send a picture of a cup of latte with some carrot cake and we can chat, e-mail, or comment on each other’s blogs (and I don’t have to clean my house for her visit). Is there anything better? I asked my husband to join Facebook too. “Why”, he asked. I don’t know, I guess I felt like it’s a place where my real life and virtual reality interface, he should be there too, after all he and the kids are my life. “So I could send you cupcakes” or super poke you in the middle of the workday, or send you “what sex position you like” application request or that you could show you are a Skimbaco fan too. I don’t know. Why would I? I should just enjoy that I can bake some real damn cupcakes for somebody who actually is in my everyday real life. I love all my friends on the internet, and I love making new friends (find me from Facebook, btw), don’t take this wrong way. Sometimes it just makes me wonder, if there is something wrong with me because I rather write to your blog, e-mail you, or send you a funny YouTube video just to make you laugh, than join a local mommy club to meet new local moms I could actually invite for a cup of coffee? Do you have a love/hate relationship to your virtual life, or am I just being weird today?