August 12, 2010 by Willy Cardoso

In case you don’t know, e-rumination is a remark, after intense meditation, about experiences in the very modern event of meeting vis à vis some amazing online bipeds.

So, this post is about this silly grand act I’ve been experiencing and to make it any relevant there’s a video of Mr Michal Cogh at BrazTESOL talking about online communities, which is basically what inspired me to e-ruminate.

Notice that e-rumination starts quite interestingly and then sobers up to tweet-size-like choose your favorite:

a) immaterialities   b) irrelevancies   c) insubstantialities   d) impalpabilities


“I thought you were older, Willy!” – I get that quite often when I meet someone in person who I had had some contact in the virtual world. They might not say that, but most likely they think about it. It’s alright, isn’t it? To say that. I don’t mind it and they don’t mind it, I guess.

But I imagine all the other things that come to people’s minds, but that they wouldn’t say, when having this kind of meetings.

“Gosh, you look older that I’d thought!”

“I didn’t know you were that fat!”

“You look a lot hotter in person than you look on Facebook!”


Inevitably, we’re firstly judged by how we look and later by what we do or what we say in the more mundane encounters, i.e. those who have no previous online component. Some people make a big effort to overcome this first impression by being a chatterbox, a tactic that more often than not backfires.


“Are you the owner of that hat?”

“Err… yes…”

And then he commented on my blogpost, of the previous day, in a way that he didn’t seem very happy about what I wrote, he said something like “You’re trying to question what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years”. I really didn’t know what to say, but tried a “Well, someone’s gotta do it”, I was getting nervous not knowing where that conversation was going to get, I’m a shy person, you know.

But then he added, “I like that”.

Phew… (In Brazilian Portuguese we say ufa! instead of phew)


Very, but very few people will not judge one another when meeting for the first, second, third… time. Firstly, judged by how they look; and by (un)consciously knowing they’re being judged, a first façade is built, painted by words that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Words, secondly in the line of judgment, are hugely affected by looks; hence, distorted. Words are easily misinterpreted when first impressions are caused by looks, we know that.


What if you have read some of my posts here and then you meet me some day. What preconceptions of me would you bring to this first meeting? Believe me or not, this makes a lot more difference to you than it does to me. Or is it the other way around?


What would you say if someone told you “I don’t like people” ?

I’d say: “Me neither, and that’s part of being one of them. Coffee?”


What if you first come across one’s words and later, much later, one’s looks? The whole relationship will be different. There might not even be any relationship.


And you? Any interesting (or not) notes on first encounters with Twitter followers, Facebook maniacs, or YouTube-only celebs? Any e-ruminations to share?


6 thoughts on “e-rumination

  1. Hey, Willy!

    Very insightful piece, mate.

    Hope you keep them coming from Old Blighty in the next two years.
    It was really great to meet you face to face at Braz-TESOL 2010!

    Willy Cardoso, a great ELT practitioner and theoretician, and an all round good egg!

    Cheers, mate!


    • Fernando,
      For me, one of the highlights of this conference was meeting you! The time we spent talking was more worthwhile than I could’ve ever foreseen. I’m sure we’ll share a lot more in this unpredictable lifetime (however paradoxical it seems; sure vs unpredictable)

      And in case you haven’t noticed, the “I thought you were older, Willy” comes from you : )


  2. Hi Willy,

    Liked your e-rumminations! Still haven´t met up with you f-2-f (not quite sure video streaming hello exchanges count, do they? Not really!) but will do soon (we have talked about IATEFL, haven´t we? How´s the proposal going????).

    But yes, 1st time met up with fellow Twitter friends was indeed at this year´s IATEFL in Harrogate – and it was all hugs and warm embraces – this was the international twitter folk. And then it was at ABCI – meeting fellow Brazilians.

    Your point about appearances does make sense. Aren´t we all ever so careful about our Twitter avatars? Well, aren´t we? I´m the first to plead guilty!

    But I´m not quite sure we need to worry about what comes first: words or looks or words….

    Words have a look of their own, don´t they?

    Hope to meet you soon (after all we live in the same country!!!).

    • Lovely comments Valeria!
      You’re on the way to become a great e-ruminator : )) and I’m sorry but videostreaming doesn’t count.
      Until now I regret not having met the brazilian crew in Harrogate, yourself included, but hey IATEFL Brighton is just around the corner, and I’ll be there for sure. Proposal is going well in my mind, next week is set aside to put it down on paper.

      As regards words and looks, it’s not really to worry about, but quite interesting to pay attention to, when you meet someone whose content came before body it’s a whole different ball game; for shy folks like me it makes it a lot easier to interact with someone who, even if very little, knows something about me, same at conferences cause I always go all by myself and frequently don’t know many people, and that’s why I’m really enjoying meeting fellow tweeps.

      see you soon!

  3. It is interesting when you say that you are shy .. Well I have the opportunity to meet you at Braz tesol event .. and I think you are not shy .. As I told I am sure you are going to be an excellent speaker.

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