from online to offline friends

I’ve spent some time in recent weeks and months catching up with people who I mostly know from their blogs. These catch-ups make for an unusual social situation.

If you read someone’s blog for a while, you start to think of them as a friend, in a weird, online kind of way: at least of someone you keep hearing about. This goes further as passively reading the blog advances to commenting, and perhaps to emailing. Over time, you come to know details of the person’s life – often things that they wouldn’t spend much time discussing with people – and after a while, you might know a great deal about them.

The details of life that are presented online, though, are usually walled off: whole sections of life are left out, for various reasons. This makes perfect sense – there are some things about your life that don’t belong in the public domain, archived forever for anyone to read after a little googling.

Once you reach a point with an online friend where you actually catch up face-to-face, this makes for some awkward moments. Thanks to the internet, I have friends whose names I mispronounce. When we catch up, there are topics where we have shared history – and can talk for hours – and other topics where we’re strangers.

Does anyone else have any friends they only know from the internet?

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  1. i have a friend, prue, in melbourne. amongst other things, she was agoraphobic and has… problematic relationships. she does, however, have an awesome collection of close friends about her in a very polonius kind of why – bound they to herself with hoops of steel – and the more i read of her the more enriched i read her becoming because of those relationships.

    so yeah… that’s one.

  2. I hung out with Hayo – whom I ‘met’ online, and who lives in Holland, which is pretty much the opposite end of the planet – when he came to Australia. There wasn’t too many awkward moments, in fact it was bundles of fun. But I reckon a coulpe of twenty year old guys would struggle to find an awkward moment in most situations.

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