Jordan Brock

Relationships with Random Strangers

While it’s difficult coming up with a term for the relationships that we have with people that we interact with online, but not in “meatspace”, it’s harder still coming up with how to describe your relationship with people that A) you’ve never met, and B) you’ve never really even interacted with.

Around a year or so ago, someone posted a link to this photo on Flickr:


Uploaded by Godiex { … } on 20 Dec 06, 1.20PM WST.

Certainly an interesting photo, and one that deserved further investigation. So, I started looking at Godiex’s photostream, and noticed there were a few photos of this girl, who turned out to be his girlfriend. I found her photostream, and then saw this photo

home town

Uploaded by randompanda on 6 Jun 05, 10.41AM WST.

which is a shot of the hill I grew up on (our old house is just around the corner). I thought that was pretty intriguing, and so I added both randompanda and Godiex as contacts.

It turns out that Godiex is an artist from Argentina, and that he and randompanda began a long distance relationship in the comments on a photo on flickr. So, all of a sudden, I’m watching the relationship of two people I don’t know, who met through a photo sharing site. Their photos showed them being apart, randompanda going to live in Buenos Aires, and then the pain of separation when randompanda had to return back to Australia (I presume caused by visa-expiry). I’m guessing I felt an affinity for their situation, as Caren and I spent 10 months of our first 2 years together in different countries.

Through my virtual stalking, it appeared to me that they were waiting for the opportunity to be back together and that all would be well again. Then Godiex posted this photo:

this moon is over

Uploaded by Godiex { … } on 28 May 09, 5.10PM WST.

In the description for the photo he basically said that their relationship was over, effectively being ended by the distance apart. It was weird. Here were two people that I had never met, and only shared the random fact that I grew up in the same town as one of them, and I followed their relationship through the photos they posted. And I was sad that they had made the decision to break up. And it’s clear from the comments on the last photo that there’s a large number of other people feeling the same way.

Well, I hope that these people are still together at least (read the comments on that photo for an amazing story).