Some people are fond of saying that we’re so busy texting and tweeting and posting status updates that we don’t have time for “real” friendships.
I beg to differ. Through social media I’ve built up a group of friends, some of whom I’ve never met in person, some of whom I see regularly, most of whom fall somewhere in the middle—we might have met at a conference once a few years ago, or we get together once a year at a regular event. I count the members of this glog (did you know that’s what a group blog is called?) in that group of friends.
When I have a first face-to-face meeting with someone I’ve grown to know on-line, we can skip a lot of the preliminaries. I already know what’s important to them, what they find funny, what recent losses they’ve suffered in their lives, whether they’re a cat person or a dog person or neither. I’ve already cheered on their victories and commiserated with their setbacks. We can get right to the important stuff.
I found my wonderful agent through a referral from an on-line friend I’ve never met in person; I’ve gotten great writing advice and reading suggestions from others; I find my horizons expanded by the thoughts, jokes, and comments of almost all of them.
I don’t believe—and neither do a lot of social scientists—that on-line community is taking the place of the real-world version. For many, including me, each of those communities enriches the other. Community is where you find it.