Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Friends

I took one of those quizzes that rates your life or aspects of it. It said I needed more friends. I thought about this and realized that my answer reflected only my 'real life' friends and not my online friends. I talk with some of you more than I talk with people I know personally.

Online friends are a strange breed. They mean so much to us and yet can't fill some of our basic needs. It is difficult for someone in another city or country to go shopping for you when you are sick, for example.

We all joke around about "getting a life" and "doing something" but when you look around you see that we are. Interacting online fulfills a need that is missing in our real-world lives. We write and IM here when we can and this fills the gaps in our world.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been online earlier. Many of the toughest times in my life have been due to isolation. I had family or coworkers around, but no one who shared my interests or understood me. Now I can pop online and some of my friends will be around. If they aren't I know how they can be reached.

Sometimes we work hard to block out the world because it is so overwhelming. The 'net can be overwhelming too, but we can block out certain elements and let others influence us. We can interact with others in a controlled manner and learn a bit and teach a bit. We can meet new people of all ages and backgrounds.

I value the noncommercial, homegrown, aspects of community available on the 'net. Friendships made through blogs and comments are built up over time and can be rewarding. A blogger's 'voice' is like a door that opens to let you into their world. When you read more of the blog you begin to interact with the blogger and a conversation begins. Communication happens.

If I had included my online friends in that 'life' quiz the outcome would have been very different. I knew that when I took the quiz. The way the question was worded and my views about it made me answer the way I did. The quiz author and I need to remember what a friend is.

4 comments:

Fin said...

Great post Leon.

My thoughts exactly.

Leon said...

Thanks Fin.

LJ said...

I forgot my online friends too. They play a very important part in my life, and I am blessed for you. You should know ... you're one of them. :-)

Leon said...

Likewise LJ.:)