I spent the last five days at Gen Con which, among other things (including going to see the Doubleclicks and Five Year Mission both put on a brilliant concerts), seems to be the venue for meeting people in real life who you had only previously known via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail. Leaving aside drive-by sightings of famous people like Larry Elmore, Walter Koenig, and John Scalzi, that don't really count, I met several people who I had only interacted with before online, although most of them were the members of Five Year Mission - Noah Butler, Andy Fark, P.J. O'Connor, Mike Rittenhouse, and Chris Spurgin - who were great, or people who I only knew online but that people I was with knew in person, such as a fantastically nerdy girl I met named Savannah (who also happens to be engaged to P.J. O'Connor, which appears to be a match made in nerd heaven). Some other people I was at the Con with met people they had only known before online: For example one of my friends met Brian Patterson, also known as d20 Monkey. On the whole, every face to face meeting of internet friends of which I am aware went very well and resulted in further solidified friendships.
But there is a flip side to this sort of experience. Sometimes when you meet someone in real life, they turn out to be not quite as good as their online persona led you to expect. Maybe it was because you had invested them with unrealistic expectations. Maybe it was because you mistakenly assumed they were a completely different person because that was what you wanted them to be. Or maybe their online presence actually was completely misleading and they aren't nearly as impressive in real life as they were when filtered through the lens of the internet. And that's the phenomenon that the Doubleclicks song The Mystery's Gone is about - the disappointment that one feels when meeting someone who just doesn't measure up to how they presented themselves via humorous tweets, good looking Facebook photos, and insightful blog posts. And when it turns out that they aren't nearly as witty, funny, or engaging in person it feels like finding a seemingly empty parking space only to discover that it is occupied by a Smart Car.
Also, oatmeal cookies should always have chocolate chips, and not raisins. Those of you who put raisins in them are evil.
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