In the so-called “real world”, I am not a very affectionate type of person. No, wait, that’s not true. What I meant to say is that I am an affectionate type of person, with my family and close friends. What I really mean to say is that I don’t dish out hugs all day, every day other than to my family. I’m pretty much the same way in Second Life. I give or send virtual hugs to people I am fond of and feel close to, and that’s not a whole lot. Blame it on my introverted nature, but if you have managed to find a way past my closely guarded firewall, I will shower you with love and virtual hugs like they’re going out of style.
In the virtual world and our social media associated with it, I see avatars dishing out emoticons filled with affection and virtual hugs all the time. I see cute little hugging smiley faces, I see hearts, kisses, and in-world you can’t go to any event without being bombarded by gestures filled with love and affection for the performer on stage.
Look, I’m not saying that I have anything against this. I too enjoy showing and receiving affection, in my introverted way of course, when I feel it’s appropriate. So please don’t take this to mean that I never want a virtual hug from anyone ever again.
I love and cherish the friends and people I have gotten to know in Second Life, through blogging and social media. It’s incredibly cool that I have met people who I consider to be my friends or kindred spirits, and they live thousands of miles away from me. I love that about Second Life and I love to give and receive cyberspace hugs from said friends.
What I don’t love is the distance. I curse every single mile between us. On a bad day, a virtual hug from a far away friend is enough to lift my spirits. But sadly, there are other days when it doesn’t even come close to satisfying the need to feel the warmth of a real hug or a pat on the back from a friend offering you comfort.
Today is one of those days where a virtual hug doesn’t satisfy. I wish it was enough to make up for the miles between us, but it just isn’t.