Internet friends are different from other friends. They are generally distant, and often people I have never met. They sometimes have funny names. Indeed, they could be quite other than what they represent. I might never know.
Yet I find that many are real friends. There are people on the other end of the conversation. They do exist in a persistent other universe.
If I were to go out and regularly attend a church, a class, or even sit at a stool in the same bar for a period of time I would gain friends. They would be associated with whatever activity brought us together, but we could move beyond that to develop deep and abiding friendships.
Some would share elements of their lives with me, and I with them. We would bond in the myriad of ways friends bond in the real world.
How is the Internet that much different from the real world? It is sometimes more immediate, as it allows us to eliminate distance. Though we often just type at each other the technologies exist (and are affordable) to allow us to see and hear each other.
One of my daughter's best friends is an Internet friend. They live practically on opposite sides of the world from one another, yet they share with one another a great deal. They send each other things they have made and things they have found. Theirs is a real friendship.
For me these friendships on the Internet are easier. I have a natural tendency to be reclusive. I am a person at ease with his own company. Yet the Internet draws me to other people as nothing else in my life seems to do. I rather like that, since it allows me to have many more friends than ever before and still live in a manner in which I am most comfortable.
Though I sometimes try to imagine what the Internet shall do to our various societies, I really cannot guess what will ultimately come to pass. It is new. It is exciting. It is something in which we can all share. I won't even say we should not be afraid. Change of this magnitude will, at times, prove to be quite terrifying.
I, for one, an delighted to live in such times. How about you, my friends?
19 hours ago