Monday, June 3, 2013

Virtual Reality Versus Real Life

Years ago, I purchased a computer that came with a bundle of games. One of them involved creating an imaginary city. You could build roads, buildings, and populate it in any way you wished.

I've noticed the virtual reality scene is popular on the Internet. Two friends and I enjoyed a lunch via my blog. Others send imaginary gifts to their friends. It's become a way of connecting with people we may never meet in person.

Yet, are these virtual activities becoming a replacement for real relationships? Is the line between fantasy and reality so blurred that we no longer distinguish between them?

Such exercises can be valuable to me as a writer. I get practice writing stories and developing characters, towns, cities, and even nations.

As I get to know people on various Social Media sites, certain ones become so much a part of my daily life that I find it necessary to connect in tangible ways. We talk on the telephone, email, and meet in person. Nothing can quite replace face-to-face interaction.

What are your thoughts about virtual reality and real life? Do you think people are getting hung up on fantasy and neglecting solid relationships? Why?


Terri Tiffany said...

Good question. I worry that we will get to comfortable behind a computer and forgo real-life interactions. I know I prefer to email now or text than pick up the phone. But I love meeting others in real life.

Jean Fischer said...

I worry about it with kids. The virtual world is so much a part of their lives. The internet can be a great tool for meeting like-minded people and making new friends, but it can also blur the real truth. Balance is important.

Susan and I have moved from Facebook friends to phone friends. We live half way across the country from one another, but I know we'll meet face-to-face one day.

Karen Lange said...

This is a good question. I prefer real life interaction, but the virtual kind has enabled me to get to know so many great people, so it does have its benefits. You, my friend, would be at the top of that list! :)

Carol Garvin said...

When the tendency is to spend hours on the computer, or try to keep up with everyone's postings on multiple social sites, I think we end up spending way too much time online. Things like e-mail and Facebook can be useful forms of communication, and blogging results in some wonderful cyber friendships.

I think it comes down to self-discipline. If we don't find a balance in time online and how we use it, then yes, real life responsibilities and relationships can suffer.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri - Email is so convenient, and I don't run the risk of calling at a bad time.

Hi Jean - Phone is the next best thing to face-to-face interaction. At least, there's more of a give and take, tone of voice, etc. It adds some dimension to the conversation.

Hi Karen - Aww, thanks so much! One of these days we'll meet in person. At least, we're on the same side of the country. :)

Hi Carol - Yes, I agree. I'm searching for ways to be more efficient on social media. I'll have some posts on the subject down the road.

Susan :)

Linda O'Connell said...

I see it with all ages and I do believe it is a concern. Most young people have poor social skills. We noticed this a few years back at a campground. None of the younger folk acknowledged anyone, and when we nodded or said hello, they seemed uncomfortable. On the flip side, I have met some interesting bloggers from across the world.

Life is all about balance.

quietspirit said...

I have concerns about the virtual world. I have to learn balance my time. I have some activities at church and go places. But I always feel torn about these things.

Jeanette Levellie said...

OH, yes, I do think we tend to substitute virtual relationships for real ones, because they are safer. We can pretend to be whomever we want the other person to think we are, rather than the flawed person we truly are. Face-to-face is risky. But it's more rewarding.

I can't hug you online if you're upset.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - You know, I've come across kids who seem downright unsociable. It's interesting that you connected this trait with virtual reality. I never thought of that angle.

Hi Quiet Spirit - I'm gradually coming into balance. Because of contractual obligations, I HAVE to make time to write. Prioritizing is no longer optional.

Hi Jen - All good points. I'm glad we got to meet face to face. A real hug definitely beats a cyber hug (even though they're nice).

Susan :)

JD said...

Timely question. Yes, I think virtual realities are a problem. Not only do people get caught up in them, but people are much more brazen to each other on social media sites than they'd ever be in person. I know of friendships that have ended over ridiculous Facebook posts that took on a life of their own.

As I get to know people better over social media sites, I "bump up" our friendships by following people's blogs, emailing people personally, chatting on the phone, or meeting up in person.

I think virtual reality is a good "middleman" when you're looking to meet like-minded people, but the human beings on either end of the "middleman" machine need to know when to make him bow out.

Be well, my friend...

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janette -

I like the idea of social media as a middleman. Quite a few of my connections have "bumped up" to blogging, email, phone, and occasionally personal meetings.

Susan :)