I encountered the phenomenon of personal pages the very first time I logged on to the Internet. It was something that had never existed before in the ordinary world. Usually you meet people first and only get to know intimate details of their lives later. Personal pages on the Internet turn the whole process around.
The great majority of these pages are something like the following: you learn your new acquaintance's name, date and place of birth, where he or she works and what his or her interests are, and then you see a photo, usually taken on a holiday or at a party. The most popular are the photographs where you see your new acquaintance bathing in the sea, or stroking a dog or horse, or dancing or doing something sporty. If your new acquaintance is a woman, you will often see a modelling agency sort of photo, and if it's a man, he will want to be pictured in a gleaming automobile. Then you find out about your acquaintance's tastes in the way of books, films and music and his or her erotic idols. You'll see childhood snaps and you can click on links to the person's friends and favourite servers. You can read his or her "motto." In just ten minutes you know so much about him or her, but you still haven't met. And perhaps you never will. But still you already have your own opinion about the person. You can write him or her an e-mail, and perhaps get an answer. You have some kind of relationship with the person.
Yes, you have an acquaintance, but the question is - who that acquaintance actually is. Is it really the person whose homepage you are reading, or is that just a person your acquaintance would like to be seen as? Or is it a person you would like to see? Isn't the picture of your acquaintance something you alter with the brush and paints of your own ideas? Your imagination? Or on the other hand, what if this apparent self-portrait of your acquaintance is the work of a cheat? Most often, both of these possibilities are true at the same time.
Be that as it may, millions of personal pages are sailing through the universe of the Internet. I see them as lonely cries out into the darkness, attempts to make contact with an unknown civilisation. Above all they are communiqu