2196: Nice To E-Meet You

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Nice To E-Meet You
I'm inside your head and I hate it. Please let me out.
Title text: I'm inside your head and I hate it. Please let me out.


In this comic, Cueball is considering how to greet someone online.

At first, Cueball considers simply saying "Nice to meet you!", a typical greeting used when meeting someone in person. However, he notes that since the introduction is taking place electronically, saying that he is actually "meeting" them is inaccurate; he duly discards the greeting.

Next he considers replacing the word "meet" with "e-meet." The use of "e-" as a prefix for anything related to electronics was a popular naming trend in the early 1990s, such as eWorld, eBay, and as a standardized shorthand for electronic mail. Earlier cyberpunk novels, such as 1984's Neuromancer, did not use the "e-" prefix, as they were written before that linguistic trend, while the prefix generally fell out of fashion by the 2000s. Cueball using the phrase "e-meet" thus sounds anachronistic to the 1990s, and he recognizes it, discarding his greeting again.

He then decides that he needs to throw off the shackles of normal conversation and simply "be normal." Being a geek, Cueball therefore writes up a long-winded exposition of how strange electronic communication actually is in terms of the photons being projected by the computer screen, comparing it to his hands touching the receiver's eyes, then concludes the greeting with a simple "Anyway, hi." This might be off-putting to a friend that Cueball had just now met. This makes it funnier that Cueball believes he just "nailed" his greeting; he clearly has no idea what he is doing.

The title text continues the theme of "his hands touching the receiver's eyes"; Randall is talking about how as a construct that your mind makes, he is now "inside your head"-- and taking it that statement to its logical conclusion, he "wants to get out."

The comic discusses how adhering to conversational convention during social interactions can be quite difficult, especially with the advent of new technology. Social awkwardness is a recurring theme in xkcd.

Advice has been written regarding the topic of whether to use "Nice to (e-)meet you" and possible alternatives, e.g. by Forbes, Huffington Post and Grammarly. The consensus seems to be that "Nice to meet you" is fine, though a bit cliche.


[Cueball is sitting at his desk on an office chair, while typing at his laptop. The line he is writing on the computer is shown with white text in a black box up at the top of the panel while his thoughts shown in a thought bubble with small bubbles going to it from his head.]
Text: Nice to meet you!
Cueball [thinking]: That sounds weird; we’re not actually meeting in person.
Laptop: Type type
Laptop: Delete delete
[Same setting:]
Text: Nice to e-meet you!
Cueball [thinking]: What is this, a 1995 cyberpunk novel?
Laptop: Type type
Laptop: Delete
[Cueball stops typing and leans back resting an arm on the back of the chair while looking at laptop, no black box shown.]
Cueball [thinking]: OK.
Cueball [thinking]: Chill.
Cueball [thinking]: Just be normal.
[Cueball resumes typing a much longer text in two black boxes, one large with five lines of text, and a small below with one line.]
Text: It’s weird to think that the words I’m typing will be projected onto your retinas. It’s like my hands are touching your eyes.
Text: Anyway, hi.
Cueball [thinking]: Nailed it.
Laptop: Type type

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DgbrtBOT hasn't uploaded, so I manually created the page. Herobrine (talk) 00:38, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

I am convinced there's some idiotic joke to be made here, like "Maybe DgbrtBOT hasn't e-met this comic yet" or "Perhaps his e-Mail is down" or something, but I can't find the wording. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:22, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
It also came out very late, around midnight here in Europe, if what Herobrine said about it being up two hours before he posted is is true (it was 2:36 in my time zone when the page was created!) But I guess that should not have had anything to with the Bot? --Kynde (talk) 09:33, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
Just went back to check the timestamps. It had been up on xkcd for about 1 hour 20 minutes when I created the page. But when typing the comment in DgbrtBOT's talk page I accidentally typed the time when I was typing the comment (about 1 hour 50 minutes, hence almost 2 hours, after the comic was released), not the time when I created the page. I'll go edit that, and sorry if my mistake caused any confusion! But since it usually doesn't take DgbrtBOT that long to upload comics to Explain xkcd, I wasn't sure if something was wrong and so I decided to create the page. Herobrine (talk) 00:29, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

Woah, light and sound go directly in to the nervous system. 20:36, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

Please to make your acquaintance :) 12:21, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

The comic strip connects with the reader: I think the current explanation doesn't highlight this unexpected and pivotal element. In the first 3 boxes, cueball seems to communicate with another (stick-)person from "his" world. However, in the last box it turns out that he is communicating with us, the readership of the comic, in a way that works surprisingly well to create a (creepy) bridge to our real world. At least it worked for me. 10:39, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Not my first thought on the comic, but it makes sense, to read it in a way, that the messages, which Cueball types are breaking a 4th wall. Similar to when using a videochat, but sound is disabled, and you watch the other person type their messages, and then looking at you, waiting for you to read it. --Lupo (talk) 11:11, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Did anybody else think that when he said to himself, "Chill" that he was going to go the "ICE to meet you!" route? (See https://what-if.xkcd.com/121/) Mathmannix (talk) 11:41, 24 June 2020 (UTC)