Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Halley on “trompe l’oeil online intimacy”

Halley’s Comment raises a disturbing, yet important, question:

As we adopt new ways of connecting over the internet — instant messaging, IRC chat, wikis, blogging and blog commenting — I can’t help wondering if the “connectedness” we all aspire to and the closeness we try to foster is at all real, or is a trompe l’oeil online intimacy, with no real depth or texture, barely able to withstand the light of day, much less the real world meeting in a bar over beers.



  1. i’d say real. old friends have gotten back in touch by reading my blog 😉

  2. I think we work fine as “real” friends. And I met my husband via connections made over the net. And I adore my herpetoculture group, and have met some of those folks, and still talk to them. And they send me books. So there.

  3. I come down on the positive side, too, though no media is dense enough to rival real life– if only because we communicate all kinds of things unconsciously.

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