Did you watch this week's episode of The Bachelorette? Ashley and the remaining three bachelors escaped to the Fiji Islands, one of the most perfect vacation spots in the world, where Ashley talked repeatedly about just how perfect everything was there. She even talked about just how perfect each bachelor was for her and just how perfect their final dates were (except of course Constantine who decided that despite the perfection, he wasn't feeling it for Ashley). With every scene we heard the word perfect more times than we heard the word amazing in the previous episodes. Ashley also talked about how protected she felt in her perfect surroundings. And amidst all this talk of perfection, Ashley set about to make one of the most important decisions of her life, her real life -- a life that would not be protected by the perfection of the beautifully isolated Fiji Islands.
So why are we talking about the most perfect vacation spot in the world in an article about the Internet? In numerous ways, Ashley's comments about the Fiji Islands and how protected and perfect she felt there could have just as well been about the Internet. Again and again, we go online with the sense that we are entering a protected space where everything can be perfect. We feel a sense of security that empowers us to make decisions online that will affect our real lives. We do it often based on whatever 'perfect' reality is either presented to us or we have chosen to imagine. And we feel quite protected when we do. But sooner or later, our decisions online affect our lives offline. Recognizing, understanding, and then being keenly aware of this fact might be perhaps one of the greatest challenges of the digital century. Every step we take, every decision we make online will live with us offline, sometimes forever.
So, next time you go online to interact with others and find love, take a moment to look up from your keyboard to remind yourself that you're not in Fiji. The life you live in outside the Internet is the life you must embrace, filled with ups and downs, perfection and imperfection, happiness and sadness. It is what your real life is all about.
Until next week's episode, keep in mind that Fiji is a place you go after you've made some of the most important decisions of your life.
See also Hemu's other blogs on The Bachelorette here.