I’ve been thinking about friends lately. As a freelance writer and author, I’ve done a lot of networking online as well as meeting people at conferences, book signings, and out in public during daily life. Some of those people I now consider to be friends, even though often times we first met online and interact primarily online.
In the past ten years or so, the internet has become one of the primary sources, if not the primary source of communication/entertainment/socializing (social media!) for the majority of people. That got me to thinking about the difference between so-called internet friends vs. traditional friends–those we have met in person the first time and developed a relationship with over time based on face-to-face interaction.
At a recent Blevins book club meeting I attended (my first!), the nine other people there all started as internet friends because of our love for TLGMS. When the show ended, Dale started a blog to keep all his fans connected. We’ve taken turns posting blogs (some much more than others. I am a laggard in that category.) The discussions can get quite lengthy. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other well enough to feel like we’re friends, even though some of us have never met. (Of course, most of you know this, just putting it in for newcomers).
Until that book club session, I had only met two of the blog regulars in person. Those two, Verily Sherrilee and Tim, were kind enough to come to my book launch celebration last spring. But the others were new faces. Even so, I felt as if we were all comfortable together, as friends should be.
So my question is: What is the difference, if any, between your “physical friends” and your “cyber friends?” Or is a friend always a friend, no matter how you met and the means by which you communicate?