What are first impressions comprised of? What cements an impression, or turns it on a dime? What forges an instant camraderie, what creates an illusion of uncertainty?
I don’t know. I know these questions hold a certain fascination, particularly online.
Cus essentially, when it comes to a ‘blog’ first impression, you’re physically/mentally/emotionally reacting to a digital presentation of selective thoughts or graphics. You’re reacting to what a specific brain chooses to reveal of itself.
In real life, and this is just me, but in real life I have an unreasonable bias toward people I already know. Those who have won my affections can take rather freakish liberties and still find me in their corner. But to strangers? I am squinty-eyed and horribly unfair. In fact, I’m not unlike Cleveland Armory’s cat Polar Bear who thinks the number of people he knows is exactly the right number of people, and adding more to that number is excessive and very possibly dangerous.
New people, for the most part, arouse in me suspicion. For example, my daughter’s school teachers: It takes a teacher about 7 months to convince me that he or she is actually a good educator with my daughter’s best interests in mind, and not a slacker or a cruel, busy-work demon just clocking in wearily till that blessed day that they can retire and move to Florida. By the time I’ve given one of her teachers my stamp of approval, it’s usually only a few weeks till the school year is over with, and then I go through the process of borderline hostile skepticism all over again.
Is it merely a trust issue?
Maybe, but I’m not really sure, because I’m not very consistent. Every once in awhile I meet someone whom I take an immediate and senseless shine to. This can be anyone at all, from a stranger on the street, to someone’s great Uncle Marvin visiting from Chicago. It’s like lightning strikes, it can happen anywhere: Random Like.
What about here on the net, though?
There are people over there to the right, on the blogroll, that I loved that way, immediately. There are some whose words please me to such a degree that I require no reciprocation, no acknowledgment whatsoever in order to remain a loyal reader, a die-hard fan. Others won a place in my attention over a period of weeks, a slow building trust and admiration.
And there are some that I would eject without a moment’s hesitation if I sensed the slightest hostility or underlying agenda in our exchange.
There really isn’t a definite reason why. I mean, not a consistent one. There’s no particular trait, no font that strikes my eye as more trustworthy, no reason maybe to value this person’s time and attention more than another’s. It’s just one of those crazy things.
So the constant is that there aren’t any constants. I might take things differently coming from a man or a woman (but you can blame the culture for that one). I might, have, and would again forgive someone with whom I’ve suffered online misunderstandings, simply because their devotion to me or my words seems completely sincere.
There’s another who despite many signs of good will and inter-blog communication, I’m still convinced on some basic level that we do not and probably will never genuinely like each other.
And there’s at least one that may or may not like me, but I like them insensibly and will probably continue to hang around in dopey, indefatigable good cheer until the day they say, “Um, fuck off, do” in no uncertain terms.
It’s fascinating how these impressions develop, how we build relationships, whole exchanges, dramas and friendships that are at least 75% percent internal, arising from reactions in our heads.
New people have been dropping by lately. Most of them I recognize from the blog of someone I wasn’t sure of right at first but came to like, and truly admire very, very much. It’s nice to see new faces, though I hafta soothe my inner Polar Bear who is at least a little freaked out by signs of change.
Like any egotistical biped, I tend to think my own overtures more likely to net good weebles, but I’ve been repeatedly, agonizingly wrong. It’s a surprise and a delight to be so thwarted, and real writery relationships will hopefully ensue. Just understand, it might take a little while to like you.
But I’ll really like you, once I do.