In. Real. Life. It's a term used widely among those who sit behind a brightly-lit computer screen and partake in the "following" or "friending" of some random stranger on a social network. I am still mystified by the hypocrisy that occurs as I accept each individual who I have never met "in real life" (or IRL). How can I ever provide my son with the proper guidance concerning safety if all he ever sees me do is "talk" to strangers, attend events where people call me by my Twitter handle (it's @IamKeonte by the way), or know my whereabouts thanks to a precise pinpoint on a virtual map?

The short answer is, "I can't!"

The truth of the matter is, this is my world. I chose to live in it years ago as a mother/woman/parent seeking solace during a time where ice cream and romantic comedies were inadequate at meeting my emotional needs. My life collided with a virtual habitat. I found a place of belonging, community AND somewhere to purge my insecurities. I became social.

Social networking is like walking by a huge crowd and noticing all the buzz, excitement and vibes pouring from every angle in that area. As much as you try to continue on with your day, you can't help but stop in your tracks to get a glimpse at all the commotion. Once you dig deeper into the crowd, you start to notice others who look like you, some who don't, and others you want to completely avoid. As the crowd begins to move, you quickly find your rhythm in enough time to decide which direction you want to go– right or left.

I've been swaying for awhile now. I'm still not sure where I'm headed. Decision-making has never been my strong suit. However, I'm learning that it's okay to not know.

I know my role and who to roll with.

I dabble in a lot of appetizing conversations...but I never double-dip.

I can lead with my creative forces, or follow with my undivided attention.

I give props when they are due and I accept compliments when they are given. 

The gist of what I'm saying is that: life is the same for me both online and offline. The two evaluated in an equation will ultimately equal, "in real life". Sure there is a level of escapism found in this virtual insanity, but the electrical currents flowing through the cords that keep me plugged in are the same ones that exist when I turn off the power button. My being remains the same.

Eventually you have to get up out of the chair, walk to the front door, and face reality. It's too complicated to decide which person you are going to be that day. Stick with one– THE REAL YOU– and hand that person over to the world. 

Numbers, stats, followers, friends, opportunities, trips, events – those are all parts of being a blogger, but remember who is behind it all. You are not a blog. You are a person. Don't let the words overpower the person who is writing them. Find your voice so that everyone can hear you shout.

Being social is good.

Being real is great!

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