Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting To Know You... Are Online Friends Real?

I know several people that I consider friends that I have never met face to face (F2F). Some I have know for several years - we correspond through text, e-mails, or hang out represented by our avatars in places like Second Life. Are these people any less my friends than those I see regularly F2F in the "real world"? The only differences are that in many cases I probably say more and open up more to my online friends than my F2F friends, and I can't visually see my online friends.

Can you have friends that you have never actually met in the physical world? I think you can.

I've been doing a lot of thinking on this one - can you get to know someone better online than you can in a F2F (face to face) environment? Just think of the people who met online and ended up together in the "real world". Many of the couples like that I know say that one of the advantages was they "knew" each other before they met F2F.

Here is my premise:
  • It's easier to get to know someone on line because a lot of the social strictures are gone - it's not bosses and employees or peers it's just a group of people doing the same thing
  • It's sort of like the opposite of Cheers - "where NO ONE (instead of every one) knows your name...". People who would be too shy to say something F2F are comfortable to share online - they are not hampered by appearance, or position, or place...
Do you think this is true or is it just my fevered imagination? I've become so comfortable online that I no longer really differentiate between the two - I have friends - it's just that some of them I have only met in text. Hmmm...

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