…or really not here 

A little later this morning I am going away for seven days. Whilst I am looking forward hugely to my change of pace and scene, it does mean that I shall have to drop off-line for a week.  I shall miss the steady flow of Twitter updates, from the banal to the poignant. I shall miss the stimulus of the discussions on this blog.

Of course, I could easily schedule both tweets and blog updates, thereby creating the impression of my presence even in my absence. It would be a kind of Twenty First Century equivalent of the old “its all done with mirrors” trick. The thing is, it would feel like cheating. It would feel as if I were somehow not playing the game. As I have written elsewhere, it is important that we apply many of the ethics to online encounter that we do to it’s offline equivalent. This should be a real human encounter, even if it happens in virtual space.

A little while ago I met somebody in reality whom I had hitherto only encountered online. The next day she wrote to say that it had been good to meet me “irl”.  That little word puzzled me for ages. Was it a typo for “url” or what?  Eventually, I worked out that it was “in real life”.

Well, a holiday’s not real life, as we all know – but I’ll settle for that particular kind of unreality for a week.