Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#635: YOUR FICTION, MY PAIN

Did you know that bloggers, people like me and possibly you, are "...living in a world where emotions may be real but everything else is make-believe..."? I know. It's shocking. I had no idea, but this article from cbc.ca discussing Michael Keren's new book, "Blogosphere: The New Political Arena", opened my eyes. I thought that I was entertaining people and even reaching out at times, finding connections with others that I might not have otherwise found, but I know now that I was blind.

Keren "...suggests that blogs often have the opposite effect by creating feelings of loneliness for those who aren't lucky enough to reach 'celebrity' status." I mean, wow, what an insight. I knew that I felt sad sometimes, even a little lonely if it happened to be a Friday night and my cats were ignoring me, but I really didn't know that the internet was to blame. It has been my lack of celebrity that has been fanning the flames of my discontent. It wasn't necessarily just my real friends that I was missing; it was a decent hit count on StatCounter.

Knowing this has made me very empathetic to all those athletes who never make it to the Olympics, all those off-broadway actors who will never make it to the main stage, the musicians who never earn a gold record. The sheer number of individuals who are never able to reach the top of their field is staggering. Until today, the depth of the world's sorrows was unknown to me. How do I stumble forward, armed with the cold fact that the world we inhabit breeds so much defeat?

Now that I am aware that I am "...isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships", I can do something about it. Honestly, after reading about Michael Keren's book and his enlightening quotes in the cbc.ca article, I don't know how I was able to see my readers as real people with whom I could have real relationships. I mean, look at you. Where are you? You are not here. You are just little bits and bytes of type with names you chose for yourselves. Who chooses their own names, I ask you? Hippies and con artists, I say! I can't believe the company I've been pretending to keep, you bunch of smelly liars.

Who could doubt the veracity of Keren's well-researched thoughts on blogging? He followed the blogs of nine individuals in his book. NINE. I don't know how he managed to keep up. When he talks about a female Canadian blogger who is living out in the woods that remains lonely after the death of her cat even though she blogs, I totally know where he's coming from, because it is obvious that it is blogging and not her woodsy isolation or pet death that is causing her loneliness. She blogged, and people who weren't real responded when her cat died, and their lack of realness caused her more pain.

It is you readers of and commenters on these weblogs that are truly to blame for this horrible rash of Blogger Depressive Disorder (BDD). You are not real, and each time you comment or write a blogger an e-mail, you are only underlining your lack of actuality. You are saying Look! It's like I'm here but I'm not! Your attempts at communications are diminished to mere taunts. You are further depressing possibly hundreds if not thousands of innocent yet lonely and deluded bloggers who do not know that by communicating via the internet they are traversing a virtual territory populated by people whose lack of realness renders their communication hollow.

I am devastated. Even in the midst of my realization that you do not exist, I still write, so desperate am I to diffuse this immense loneliness which you, to a greater extent, are responsible for. YOU. So much power you have, even though you lack realness. Even from the virtual plane, you can reach into my chest and crush my spirit with your fictions, and let me tell you, the ensuing BDD is a terrible state indeed.

At least, according to Keren, my emotions are real, even if everything else is make-believe. If nothing else, I can believe in my inconsolable loneliness. You may not be real, my celebrity may be as a whisper in raging storm, but the effects of this nihilistic depth charge to the core of my being is the real truth borne of my fruitless foray into the virtual world of blogging.

Let Keren's words be a warning to you who also blog: "'Some of us are going to be embraced by the mainstream media, but the majority of us remain in the dark, remain in the loneliness.'"