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Humanity in the Virtual and 3-D World

Humanity in the Virtual and 3-D World

When my son was three years old. I said in my friendly mom voice, ‘€œCmon, kid, let’€™s go get something to eat.’€

My son, my best teacher, looked up to me and replied, ‘€œI’€™m a people, not a kid.’€

What we call each other makes a difference.

I think of the words that are, and might be used, to label me. Some are lovely. Some are not so comfortable. None of them are really me just as my son is more than a kid.

We use words to helps us group people efficiently, but sometimes the grouping loses sight of the individual in the groups. The group identity, which isn’t more than air and thought, becomes more real than the folks who eat and sleep and breathe.


We follow demographics blindly and wonder why we went wrong. All we have to do is ask one person in the group we’re thinking for, and we’ll know what wrong thing we assumed.

I don’€™t really want to be an eyeball. Okay, I’ll agree that sometimes, I am a user. I do find myself in an audience. Yes, often, I’€™m a reader. I make my living as a writer. I even call myself a blogger.

I don’€™t like where the term citizen journalist came from, so please, I’€™d rather not be one.

I’€™m a sister, friend, and cousin. My son calls me his mother.

My husband calls me his wife. He’€™s been under strict agreement from day one to avoid the spouse word. Who’d want to be something that has the interjection ow! right in the middle of it? Hey, I write — I notice that stuff.

The first word we learn is our name. Names are important words. They prove that we are individuals, unique in as many as we are the same.

Last June, Garrick Van Buren said

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Growing closer as a team isn't something that happens overnight. Like any relationship, it takes time to form bonds and build trust.

Individuals. All of us. Alone together. Even though we hide behind organizations, keyboards, and words — we’€™re all individual people.

When you do your market research and you put us individuals into a group, if you could remember that each of us has a name that would be incredibly cool.

That’s what gives your data and our world ‘€“ virtual and 3-D ‘€“ every bit of its humanity.

We’€™re people, not some relationship, habit, or age group.

Sometimes we need a three year old to remind us of that.

Liz Strauss talks to people one at a time at Successful Blog.

View Comments (10)
  • Beautiful. Thank you. Ah, the me-itis of Natasha, my 4 year old!! Seriously, being an individual, while recognizing that everything is inter-related, is a wonderful hope in our world. By declaring it, that doesn’t mean that one is self-centered; in fact, I have found that the more self-aware a person is, the more they are able to give of themsleves to others.

  • Hi Mark,
    As a writer, I’ve found what you say is true — that the more we know about our own individual idiosyncracies, the more accepting we are of those in others, AND the more others can find the way to extrapolate from our experience to their own. You did that when you went from my 3 year old son to your 4 year old daughter. :)

    As individuals we have so much to offer, as a group we get lowered to a common denominator that doesn’t describe any of us.

    I agree, it’s not self-centered to know who we are, because if we do then we know all of the parts and they value out to a human — nothing perfect, but made of the same stuff as stars just like everyone else.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. It’s fun to talk with you. :)

  • true, true! interesting piece. i have been in a dilemma, lately. having recently retired from the corporate world, particularly in an international development bank where daily writings are stiff business templated lingo, i find myself needing to shift to the real world – a world of people! of different personalities and emotions, even to a world in which the innocents speak – refreshing!

  • While true, let’s not get too carried away.

    Personally I don’t see the problem with spouse. Ok, now I know that you do I would probably try and remember not to use it in relation to you. However, it is a common word without, as far as I’m aware, any negative connotations. If I didn’t know and you absolutely blew up the first time I used the term then I’d be upset.

    Not saying you personally would do so, just an example of where I feel PC/”can’t-say-anything-that-could-conceivably-upset-anybody” sometimes goes too far.

    I absolutely agree with what you say. I just don’t want us to go too far in the other direction. The only way to never to say anything that offends somebody is to say nothing at all. Sometimes you just have to accept that the way you took something was not the way it was meant. If you let the person know, and they are reasonable, hopefully they’ll avoid similar comments to you in the future.

    (hehe, it could be worse. By the looks of it http://www.fantasticpoems.com/Poems/community-creatures all us bloggers are just insects anyway! Ok so insects have been insanely successful but COME ON!)

  • Years ago a friend of mine complained to another about how he couldn’t “figure out Lorelle”. He admitted he didn’t quite know what box I fit in. My best friend told him that I didn’t go into a box. I fit into a drawer – the Odds and Ends Drawer. You know, the one where you throw all the tools, gadgets, gizmos, odds and ends that you don’t know what to do with but know you will need it the moment you throw it away.

    While I was amused to be categorized as such, what amazed me more was the need to actually box someone into a restricted name space. Twenty years later, the world is still labeling and judging folks, putting them in boxes, nice, neat, and sorted.

    Will we ever judge the individual and not the box we put them in?

    Maybe with your words will might.

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