I've been thinking about the blogosphere and how we relate to the people we encounter. Looking at my list, I have a mix of "real time" and "virtual" friends who I am in touch with regularly.
There are several people I have never met, yet I have 'hit it off' with them. I communicate with one person I have never met on a daily basis. Chris is out in New Jersey and I am in a little village in England. We've never spoken to each other. All we have to go on is what we read on each other's blogs and the emails we send.
Is blogging the new 'pen-pal' thing - only quicker?
Growing up, there were several magazines you could get advertising pen pals and me, being me, I wanted pen pals because 1. I liked writing letters and 2. I enjoy meeting new people. I wrote to a girl in New York for something like four or five years and a girl in the UK for about 6 months. I also found a few 'pen friends' in South Africa itself - as close to me as Yeoville or as far as Cape Town.
Eventually these friendships petered out. Kids grow up. They get bored of writing the same letters over and over.
And suddenly, hey-presto - you have the Internet and all these blogging tools!
I met Kate over the internet. We didn't actually talk to each other for a month. We simply traded emails and gradually, just through the words on the screen, we began to develop feelings for each other. How is this possible? To fall in love with just words on a screen? Someone we've never met? Spoken to?
Fifteen-twenty years ago, we could just as easily have fallen for each other had we been pen pals. It's just quicker than snail mail and there's no paper involved.
The drawback of virtual friends is that as much as you like them, if they are across an ocean, you can't actually sit down and have tequila slammers with them. Then again, a lot of my really close friends are in South Africa and I can't do that with them either.
The point, of this rather pointless post, is that I believe that people can make connections with other people over the net. I believe that real bonds and friendships can form between individuals. I also believe that one can't be too careful on the net either - too many freaks and weirdos.