SyneRyder - journal

This Needs A Name

15th March 1999, 8:50pm
CS Lab 2.5, UWA

I keep doing this. Every year, around the months of February and March I decide that I'm going to start again, to change it all. In 1997, that meant creating a new identity, creating my own small piece of the world wide web and inventing the SyneRyder persona. Today, in 1999, it means tearing that all down and going back to the beginning.

Something has drawn me back to my favourite websites, those that I discovered back in the days when surfing was browsing. But this is more than just a nostalgic exercise, I'm searching for the one attribute that could revitalise it all once again.

My bookmarks are a mess, I can't even find those sites anymore without having to delve through cryptic subdirectories. I've spent weeks now, searching for old memories across the web, when all the time it wasn't I was looking for at all, but, small fragments in time that might actually mean something to someone. Maybe that's why I'm doing this. Perhaps I'm looking for the meaning again. Perhaps I'm looking to give others that meaning too.

Maybe that's why I've spent the last month or so sharing my life with friends who know me better than myself, yet don't even know me. Maybe I want to help them find the meaning too. Maybe that's what I really want to write about.

If you saw someone in need, would you help them? Even if all that person needed was someone to vent their frustrations on? Someone who would listen, and offer a new perspective? How much would you empathise? It's not real if you don't feel anything, you know. I feel that this is what I've been trying to do with my newly-found friends, to help them through all their problems. But then, at what point do you stop offering help? What defines the point at which everything becomes too much to handle? That's something I haven't quite worked out yet.

I've been on IRC for at least two years now, probably longer, and yet I've never experienced anything like this. For the first time I've found people online who I'm prepared to trust, people I can converse with, people I can listen to without going to sleep. People who make me feel special. I just hope I make them feel special too.

So why the negativity? Because this is all virtual. Sure, it's all real when I'm online, these are after all real people with real lives and real concerns. But that reality can be erased with a simple click of a button marked "disconnect". How real is it when you can escape from it that easily? Or is it really that easy to escape from it?

What do you call experiences like these? They need a name... surely they have a name. I'd like to try to share these experiences with others, to perhaps bring a human touch to the web, like I have tried to do in my conversations on IRC.

Maybe the reason I am writing all this is to try and bring some emotion and reality to a medium that is otherwise cold and devoid of any feeling. Even though I know I could never be a Magdalena Donea or Derek Powazek, I'd still like to try.