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Actually, Virtual or Virtually, Actual

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Actually, virtual or is it virtually, actual? This is what I am trying to figure out, actually. Perhaps an ideal way to begin here was by using virtual means – my tablet. A daunting task that this was, I challenged myself which made me more confident in my overall abilities to write. Despite what was going on around us, I also agreed to grab the virtual bull by the horns and take on this quest by telling an actual accurate article.

With COVID-19 still running around without a glimpse of an end in sight, there are many people that remain out of work. For me, I am a New York State Certified Peer Specialist. Currently, I am on disability and sort of looking for part-time peer specialist positions. While searching for employment, I noticed that openings were posted with the future interviews being held in both actual and virtual formats. So, it is up to Sherlock Holmes (me of course) to solve this mystery. 

Virtual means almost or nearly as described. However, not completely or according to a strict definition. It is merely feasible or imagined. Not anything to be afraid of, but it will take practice to use the media gizmos that are used. Sometimes, virtual is fabricated or made up in someone’s imagination in an effort to embellish a story. Recently, in this 21st Century, virtual is used by computer techs and many average individuals to simulate an item(s) or person(s) that is not there. All of us, including peer specialists like myself, live in a world of many modern conveniences, like virtual meetings where we don’t leave the house to attend.

An example is a series of virtual events that have been happening in 2020 until 3rd November. Yes, I am talking about Election Day. What occurs virtually, is that most pollsters go around the country gathering a lot of their information on a variety of different issues. Then, it is interpreted and reported virtually what was found and finally, they make assumptions as to why and which candidate people voted for. Now, this is how the process starts. Predictions reign supreme here. 

Let us discuss the word ‘actual’. It is shown as a concept or idea that exists entirely in fact. This is done quite typically by what was intended to be as a contrast with that was possibly expected or even thought of or believed. Always actual is known to be correct or precise. Also, actual happens now and in current terms. Going back to the elections, 3rd November is Election Day (actual fact). Each vote is painstakingly counted (actual fact) and the exercise continues.

However, in the 2000 Presidential Election between Al Gore and George Bush, there were allegiant discrepancies in the ways actual votes were counted. It felt like to me as if some people cast their ballots in a virtual device, playing with the flippers quite similarly to a pinball machine or tapped keys on a computer. Perhaps, it was regarding a variety of queries incorrectly or these votes were not totalled. Eventually, most or all of the tabulations were both finalised and revealed. George Bush was determined to win and a few months later he was inaugurated as the President of the US. The rest, shall we say, is history. 

Virtual meetings are real-time interactions that take place over the internet combining audio and video, chat tools and application sharing. They offer a way to engage people in fully interactive, online learning experiences such as lectures, discussions and tutoring. Also, during a virtual meeting, it becomes significantly harder to discern people’s facial expressions and feelings about the topic being mentioned. 

As a peer specialist, I have gone to many meetings, both actual and virtual ones. Personally, I have no preference. There are advantages to each way. Virtual meetings give me space where I am to do other things or even leave with minimal distractions. Often, meetings are held and seen in different cities or states and people do not have to travel. Since COVID-19, more virtual conferences are commonplace and can be seen and heard anywhere and anytime. 

At many actual seminars, one can share thoughts and opinions to a live person beside them. Commonalities are seen on the spot and as written earlier, facial expressions and gestures are noticed more easily. When we are in front of someone, expounding of thoughts and ideas occur, which leads to more effective dialogue. In addition, these actual statements can occasionally turn into long term professional relationships.

In the paragraphs above, we might have learned about the differences between actual and virtual. Before this article concludes, I will try to give two additional examples. Hopefully, effectively too. Election Day was actually this month in the US, so it is was our constitutional right as citizens to vote. This year we voted virtually with absentee ballots or went to a polling place on that day to do our duty and put in an actual vote. 

Also, I am talking about my significant other, Maureen, who actually died on 12th June 2015.  When I think about her here or somewhere else, it can only be virtual, but my feelings are actual. Of course, these feelings are most definitely and actually true! Sweetie, I love you, I miss you and I still wish you were here!


Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist in New York.

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