Face the anonymous

Back to the agora.

Blogs, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube... Internet is amazing. All these tools have largely contributed to bring the private sphere in the open. You have a digital existence that replicates, or rather shadows your real life. But like in Plato's Myth of the Cave, some only know this shadow and assume it is the reality. Your reality. They have such an insider view of your privacy (or at least the one you accept to display) that they think they know you...

Except that sometimes you don't. You may know their music tastes through their LastFM profile, appreciate their photographic style on Flickr, follow their intrepid groceries on twitter... and yet have no clue what their author looks like.

Moment of loneliness.

Recently, for instance, I met up with Jerome, a blogger that I have intensively read for a semester. I knew he was a fellow citizen who works for one of the greatest British ad agency as an engagement planner. But is that of any help to recognize him in a crowded street of Soho? Fortunately, if I dare say, we have a friend in common and I was armed with an explicit description of my target when stepping in the pub: "dark hair, sometimes short but when worn longer they tend to curl, my size... and he looks French!" Great. Easy.

This funny event amused me as I remember that old TV commercial for Wanadoo, now Orange, powered by this exhilarating song by David Bowie:

We could be heroes.

Yes, Andy Warhol was right. Everyone can have his 15 minutes of glory or, as he might put it nowadays, his 15 Rss feed subscriptions. And yet, even a shy guy like me cannot be totally fulfilled with this digital alternative. If I appreciate exploring the binary world through my laptop, I also appreciate to put a face on a html code. Therefore I tend to participate to some Blogger Meet Ups like the one that took place a few days ago in Waterloo and which allowed me to enrich my own experience. Every time I learn a little bit more about myself, about cultural experiences, about new interesting topics... The diversity of the bloggers is a source of enlightenment.

For instance, here is a brief overview of the few people I talked with:
  • Linda Hartley, a great Flickr enthusiast, who runs a number of exciting Flickr groups, like classroom displays, but who shares with her partner Andy a passion about Paris. With them we discussed Parisian life and its flip side, but also how Welsh and Scotts can also feel alien in London.
  • Pete, another London photo-freak, who had set his reader the task to point him to a place where he would and make a photo reportage of, always looking at these places through a different angle
  • Elodie, whom I bumped into on that event just a couple days after meeting her in a different environment. She also writes about cultural differences, but more specifically about the relationships between France and Lebanon, inspired by her household.
  • Camen, the Italian sustainability consultant, blamed my company for its dominant position, whilst Pamela, the Canadian research officer, welcomed its philanthropic engagement in the Third World... Just before digressing to lighter topics my restaurant recommendations in London and Paris, and the role of Ratatouille in the promotion of cuisine and French tourism.

As you can see, lots of random topics, each more interesting than the other... In other words, the charm of the Internet but without clicks for a background noise, just tinting glasses.

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