Thursday, October 14, 2010

So are online friends "real" friend??

I've heard "experts" say that they aren't, that people need to get off the computers and get out in the real world and make real friends. I think that's a bunch of BS, with social media networks like facebook and twitter, they have made the world a much smaller place. I have friends all over the world because of twitter and facebook and other online forums.

So what defines someone as a friend; someone who is there to listen, to chat with, to hangout with and keep you company, someone who can give you advice, make you laugh and brighten your day. It's true you may not have physical contact with this person but you do have emotional contact with this person.

Some people who live in smaller town don't have the luxury of finding like minded people and turn to the internet and social media groups for that. I couldn't imagine being gay and a geek and living in a small town.

It's funny as some people distinguish between "real" life friends and online friends, I do not. To me they are all "just" my friends. I have close friends who live near me and I have close friends who live 1000's of miles away and never met in person. I don't love them any differently, they are there for me when I need them most.

Now I would by lying if I said I didn't wish that some of them lived near me so we could physically hang out but just because they don't it doesn't mean I love them any less. It is funny though.. because the only way for us to communicate is over the internet and I tend to talk with my online friends more then my friends that live near by me. I don't know why that is, we're all super busy in our real lives and we do get to see each other once in a while but those friends who live near by we just don't talk that much over the net.

Online friends and social media groups can make you feel amazing. Several things happened to me recently, I started working out and blogging about my progress, the support I have gotten from those who comment on my blog has been amazing and it continue to inspire me. I turned 40 last month and I got over 150 facebook Happy Birthdays and over 200 Happy Birthday tweets from all my tweeter friends. Talk about feeling loved and appreciated. And again with National "coming out" day last week, I got so many encouraging tweets and facebook comments it was awesome. Then recently with getting my new job.. the barrage of support from my twitter and facebook friends was truly amazing. I've never felt so much love and support from people who I have never actually met in person but we have bonded over one thing or another online.

I have actually gotten to meet some of my online friends at comic con or visiting them on vacation and it's amazing how you instantly just click with that person. There is no awkward "getting to know that person" period, as you have been friends online and have chatted over time. It's like you've known each other all your lives.

The past few years have been some of the best of my life and it's because of all the fantastic online friends that I have made. So when people say that online friendships are not "real" friends, tell them to go f**k off as I have some of the best "online" friends in the world.


  1. I couldn't agree more with your post!
    Over the past 7 or 8 years I've met so many people online, from all over the world...
    I've traveled around Brazil meeting online friends, and I've had people coming to my house from at least 6 different states just to meet "offline" and hang out for a weekend or something like that.

    I've also met a bunch of online friends at SDCC and as you said, there was no "getting to know" them, it felt natural. Actually, I probably would never actually go to SDCC if it wasn't for all the guildies I'd meet if I go. It was always my dream to go, but it was just that... a dream... I didn't think I could actually go, and if it wasn't for my online friends, I'd never had realized that dream.

    I did lost contact with many people I've met online in other communities, but when I first started to really get into online communities, I was still a "kid".. 17, 18 years old... and I grew apart from my first online friends, just like we grow apart from offline friends when we all start to really finding out who we are.

    I owe so much of who I am today to my online friends. I understand when "specialists" say you can't completely abandon the offline world and online connect to people online, but I feel like every time I read articles about it, or watch it on tv, they ALWAYS just look at this extreme. They never show the other side, the "good" side, which we know well.

    Anyway, so yeah... agree 100% with you. =)

  2. Awwe damn, Dani said someof the things I was going to say.

    You, sir, are amazing and have my support and friendship for as long as you want it.

  3. Thanks.

    I'm not a mate of yours (yet), but had this passed onto me by someone who has supported me, and taken the time to make sure I'm ok, even though we've never met.
    To imply that she is anything other than a 'friend', with all that embodies, would be ridiculous.

    Honestly, I went online in desperate need for some kindred spirits, and haven't looked back! Though we've never met, there are many people in my twibe that that I automatically think of when I see a new DVD or book, exactly as I would for people IRL.

    Cheers for this


  4. The experts who are experts now, didn't grow up with this online world so they are clearly misguided ;) Thank you for your post, i completely agree.


  5. Looks like my earlier comment got lost, but Dani has said everything much better anyway!

  6. "Some people who live in smaller town", You have no idea how much it sucked to grow up on an island with 400 people, being the only geek/nerd and into Sci-fi. I'm so glad I got Internet with forums and IRC when I was like 14.

    And speaking of SDCC, I'll see you and lots of other guildies there which will definitely be fun :)

  7. I am a million times glad that I met you, kenny, because you are am amazing person and so awesome. People who don't understand threw kinds of connections you can have with kindred spirits via the internet must not have tried it out. There are things you can't know through the internet, like that annoying habit of picking his face or things that might be off putting like appearance or general awkwardness but that is pay of what makes the internet my favorite place to make friends.

    Kenny, if you came up to me in real life and started talking to me and I didn't know you, I might not have that conversation, we might not be friends, heck, you might not even approach me. But thanks to trotter and facebook and blogging and the guild community, just in the last 6 months i have met so many amazing people. Not physically, but as you said, emotionally. I don't talk to some of the people i went to school with when I was younger but I still talk to people i met in chat rooms when i was 12.

    People can say what they like about my friends and where they reside but I do love you guys just as much as i do my friends I hang out with here. And i can't wait to meet some of you irl at sdcc.

  8. Perfect! I've been telling people this for years, but they don't don't get it. You're absolutely right, friends are friends, online or off, and you can be just as close, if not closer to people you meet online, even if you never get to meet them in rl.

    Your post makes me feel like we're friends, too. :)

  9. Pretty much what everyone has said so far!

    An excellent example was when I got to meet a bunch of people at SDCC2009 that I got to know online first. :)

    Personally, I've been making online friends since about 1989. Yeah, I'm a geek in that way. =)

  10. Online fandoms and podcast communities have allowed me to make many new friends over the past 5+ years. Some of my closest friends are people I haven't even met in person yet.

  11. You said "F**K".

    (Normally what I just wrote would sound juvenile, BUT if you know Kenny you know he doesn't go there very often. :)

    I think there is something differently enriching about actually 'being' with a friend in person, but these 'experts' obviously don't know the first thing about how much you can put into a relationship online. You can spend just as much time together online, but with the benefit of receiving messages from FB, Twitter, or Texts, it makes it that your friends are with you wherever you go, whatever you're doing. Bonus!