Miranda Ward was a student in MatadorU’s travel writing course and has contributed several articles to Matador, all of which are archived here, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to add her blog to my reader.

I finally remembered to do so a few weeks ago, and it’s quickly become one of the blogs I’m eager to see updated frequently. Her writing reminds me why I love words. Here’s a quick excerpt from one of her recent posts, “Still Being Human”:

People are criticizing the internet all the time and worrying that it is separating us from our own reality, turning us into inarticulate, slobbering creatures, Calibans on a digital island. And I, who have been shy, who have been lonely, resent and reject the idea – posited in a recent Guardian piece about Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together – that “technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world.”

Because for me it is something that has made me more human.

I don’t mean to say that I don’t interact “in real life” (if we take that to mean “in the same room as other people”). I do interact in real life. In real life is where I walked into a pub without knowing anyone and walked out with the love of my life and the beginnings of a solid sense of community and belonging. In real life is where I meet friends for drinks and plot and plan and travel. Every morning I go into an office and interact with my colleagues in real life. And I don’t mean to say that the only reason I interact in real life is because of what happens online.

But let’s get one thing clear: online is real life, too. The things that happen online still happen, the voices you hear online are still voices. As Christian Payne (known online as Documentally) puts it in his excellent response to the Guardian piece: “social interaction online is still social interaction.”