This diary was prompted by a recent discussion elsewhere. It’s not meant to be a deep work of philosophy or literature, just musings on the questions ‘Are online friendships real? Do they have the same meaning and impact as off-line friendships?’ They’re questions that bring out strong opinions on both sides.
My opinion, as the title makes clear, is that online friendships can be just as powerful as in person relationships. They’re not the same, it’s true. But they can be just as precious.
My two best friends are on-line friends. One I’ve met once when trs and I swung by her house a couple of years ago during our vacation to help her out with a couple of things. We’d been friends for several years by then, though, without having met. She’s about 560 miles from me. My best friend I’ve never met is almost 1600 miles away. I hope to finally meet her this summer after 4 years of friendship.
In both cases, we started with chats in online comment threads, progressed to e-mails and then to phone calls. I have other online friends; some I’ve met at meet-ups, some not. Many I’ve met on political sites and then friended on Facebook. Because I have issues with social skills, interacting with them primarily in writing works well for me.