How exactly does one forge a line of communication with someone who may or may not be real? “Hello, I noticed that you like stuff. I like stuff as well”? How does one found the tenets of a relationship—whether platonic, casual, romantic, or what have you—when that relationship boils down to a mutual appreciation for certain strata of pop culture? What happens when the inevitable arguments—about who the Doctor’s greatest companion is, about which of Joe Hill’s short stories is the best, about whether or not “Werewolves of London” is simply a great song or an overproduced piece of monopolized nostalgia—arise?
Certainly we as human beings have long depended on our proclivities and desires to characterize us. Once the Western world had largely done away with the practice of limiting the selection of a marriage partner to a process involving the man, the prospective bride’s father, and the transaction of goats, it had fallen on individual persons to define and pathetically market themselves in a bid to appear desirable and something more than ordinary. I invite you here to think back on all those conversations at someone’s backyard barbecue which, post-introduction, invariably started with “So what do you do?” or those chance meetings with strangers at bookstores or record shops the outcomes of which hinged on the taste implied by their selections. Before the onset of the Digital Revolution, how many discretely worded ads in the Personals section of the daily paper included some self-aggrandizing variant of “I enjoy long walks on the beach”?
Let me answer: All of them.”
— Phil Roland, Love In The Time Of Tumblr