Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bound by blog

A couple of months ago, John Nery wrote about our chance encounter at the Manila Book Fair. I recognized him through his recent TV appearance; and he recognized me through my blog. Bound by blog, he called it.

So now it's my turn with some similar stories which rightly fall under the same heading.

At one time during my six-week software engineering class in Manila, I got a pleasant surprise from Madame Chiang. One of my blog entries had a familiar photo, she said: and it turned out it was taken where she worked. We set up an appointment to meet, and so we did. We spent a chatty hour talking about Philippine customs, Dr. Who, "The Kumars at No. 42", local destinations, and tarsiers (though I think I disappointed her with the reality somewhat.)

Now, I've been feed-delinquent for the past few weeks, so it was a good thing I chanced upon Caffeine Sparks' blog. Some disaster had befallen her hard disk. Being no stranger to such disasters, I surmised a data recovery might be possible. As I was out in Dumaguete, I had to enlist a geek girl friend, Charo to help her out. The end result was a happy one as three years' worth of data were promptly recovered over coffee and tea at Greenbelt. Now if only I was there.

So here we are, friends who've never really met but who share a connection through a social life made possible by technology. I hesitate to call us strangers because we're not; perhaps we know more about each other, or rather, know our way around each other, than people whom we meet but don't blog. I was about to call those connections virtual, but they're not. Only presence is virtual, but the relationships are quite real.

Sparks writes about the experience:
This new social space of the immaterial has helped me in the past seven years to create material relationships unhampered by human faults and biases. This new social space has forced me to unlearn cultural norms hinged on appearances. In this network of human beings there is only shared interests, values and goals. Communication and information dissemination is immediate because virtuality and reality unfold the same.

Indeed, these social spaces allows us to connect with people with whom our paths might not have converged, either through barriers of geography or culture or even prejudice. And to that I might add, it also prepares us for that wonderful chance occasion when we see each others' faces for the first time.

And so I wonder, who will I meet next? Willy? Oliver? Corey? Amee? Tobey? Jon? Surely the time isn't far off when we can say, "Hail, friend, and well last!"