Letters of Life

Life Online rss

My love-hate relationship with the virtual world, virtual reality.

Word of the Day: Shadow Friend

10:30, Monday, 16 December, 2013

At the very least, a friend is someone you know. In the world of social media, it’s someone whose face you recognize and can name. You might have 568 friends on Facebook, but you aren’t actually real friends with all of them, are you? The thing about social media is that if you spend any… Read More ›

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A Case for Not Bitstripping Yourself

How charming, the idea of turning yourself into a comic version of yourself. How effortless to plonk yourself into a two-dimensional world of flat colour where you can live out your fantasies. “Instant comics and cards starring YOU and your friends (capitals mine).”  That’s what greets you when you open the Bitstrip app. In this… Read More ›

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Validation: 1. Finding or testing the truth of something; 2. Affirmation, support, or confirmation. Validate comes from the root word valid, which has its Latin root in validus: “strong, effective”, which in turn comes from the word valere—be strong, or valiant. So when someone says something good about you or your skill, or what you’ve… Read More ›

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A Clear Silence, Or, Turning Down The Volume on Facebook

I have decided to prune and downsize the presence of Facebook. These few days, I have been diminishing it by: 1. Unsubscribing to updates of “friends” whom I don’t have conversation with, with whom I have not said hello to in the last year or so. To clarify, I *do* see these people often, it’s… Read More ›

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O, How I Have Pinned!

All recipes have a sequence of events. A rock bun doesn’t appear in the oven fully conceptualized from the baker’s mind. Likewise, with a recipe for disaster. Since last week, it had been an uneventful Lent. I ignored Facebook the same as it ignores people who don’t give a hoot. I ignored shopping, which doesn’t… Read More ›

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Giving Up Facebook for Lent 2012: 3 Questions To Ask Yourself (Plus 3 Myths & 3 Truths)

Lots of people want to abstain from the social networks. I’ve done it two years running, officially during the Lenten season, and declared another 40 days off Facebook late last year. Some friends are wanting to attempt giving up Facebook this year, and this has got me thinking of some pitfalls or obstacles they might… Read More ›

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Repost: Living Life in Multiple Realities

20 Feb 2012: This is one of my favourite posts of 2010 because in my view, virtual reality can be true, but isn’t necessarily accurate. In other ways, the online you is not quite you. Recently, Joel Stein wrote in Time magazine that Facebook exists to make one jealous. He writes, “Why does that person… Read More ›

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When You Get Onto The Computer

American blogger-author-social media marketer  Seth Godin, (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, 2010) and founder of Squidoo.com, a single-page website generator, provocatively titled his recent blog post thus: “The First Thing You Do When You Get On Your Computer.” His post was the idea that if the first thing you do when you get on the computer… Read More ›

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Off the Hook

The thing about not getting easy access to the virtual world is that one discovers a shameful thing about oneself. More of that soon enough. Until I entered a mall in Port Louis, the capital town of Mauritius, getting online was a first-come-first-served basis in my five-star hotel resort, which is limited to three computers,… Read More ›

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A SIRI-ass Conversation

Siri, the much-hyped personal assistant included in the iOS on the iPhone 4S, seems like a good idea. How useful to just dictate a text message to someone if you’re too busy! Say if you’re eating, or trying on clothes, or driving. Siri captures your spoken message and sends it off when you hit ‘Send’…. Read More ›

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The Smiley: Love It or Loathe It

Recently, I spent a virtual day chatting with different folks online, in that illusory timeless zone called cyber, where talk is text and the smiley is the full-stop to ease (unseen) tensions.There was at least one smiley on every line of text dialogue, except when it came my turn to reply. The smiley. What a… Read More ›

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When Haha No Longer Means Just Haha

When not in use face-to-face, ‘haha’ no longer is the sound of laughter. Instead, “haha” has evolved to mean many many things in instant messaging and online media. The online medium revels in ambiguity, and ‘haha’ has probably become one of the most ambiguous terms in use right now. Here are nine other meanings to… Read More ›

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Stepping In Where Angels Fear To Tread

After a prolonged enforced absence on the online social network, I ventured back, mainly to send a message to a new friend who lives abroad. For what was the first time in 40 days, I entered the home page and scrolled down the news feed. It was like the party I’d dropped out of was… Read More ›

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Markers: How Creating Starting/Ending Points Can Define Your Days

Eversince I started on a 40-day abstinence from Facebook (yes, I am a Facebookaholic), the speed at which real-life events have crowded in and overtaken me has caught me unawares. I intentionally fell off the Facebook map because the virtual life was getting its hooks into me and making me more of a virtual person… Read More ›

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If You Like Randomness, Click Here

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” — Woody Allen The iconic film maker-screenwriter Mr Allen hit the nail on the head with this quote, probably more insightful than it is funny. But today, it fits my mood. It all began a couple of months… Read More ›

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Reality Bytes: Five Reasons Why You Need a Salt Shaker on Facebook

Face it, the virtual community is unreal. Oh, the people behind the avatars/gravatars are real, their personas, questionably so. We put a face forward; it’s not quite the real thing. Everything we allow onto our profiles is intentional: The profile picture, the status update, the comments we make, the postcards we write about everyday life…. Read More ›

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RePost: Wasting Time with God

A blog I subcribe to, The Website of Unknowing by a Christian thinker, Carl McColman, wrote something so interesting I decided to retweet–or is it repost–an excerpt. Background: This writer blogs and writes books about the contemplative life of a Christian. In fact, he had just finished writing, editing, and proofing a book about it…. Read More ›

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Coffee and Biscotti

In the late night hour. . . it’s more like 10 a.m. in the cyberworld. A hive of activity: Chats, blogging, posting, uploading, downloading, Youtubing, emailing, the list is endless. I have a theory that online conversations have a tendency towards a transparency that can only happen when taxis start playing hide-and-seek and surcharges start… Read More ›

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