I had grand plans this evening to write a post about online friendships, their dynamics, their validity and their part in slowly helping me to build confidence in myself, but the words just wouldn't come. I've been sitting with this page open for over an hour (now almost two as I'm wrapping up), checking email, chatting and writing a word or two which I would then delete five minutes later only to try again.
I have no doubt that online friendships are real and that it is much easier for me to interact with people offline because I get to know them first online. And when I interact successfully with more people that gives me more confidence. And when I make more friends offline (and online) that makes me happy which also gives me more confidence.
What triggered all this deep thought? Well, a shout out tonight on Technology Bytes. I would definitely classify Jay, Dwight and Groovehouse as online friends (as opposed to someone I just know about) and I have actually met two of the three in person. I visit their blogs on a regular basis, chat, email, twitter .... all the things that good little online friends do. But I had never really listened to Technology Bytes, the local geek radio show that they all do, very much before tonight. Tonight I decided to listen to it from the start and even stop by the IRC chat. And a few minutes in, they noticed I was there and said ON THE AIR, hey... it's laanba. Hey... it's me! The shock eventually wore off as the show went on. :-)
The friendships were labeled, photography friend, twitter friend, but then aren't all friendships labeled in some way? Melissa is my high school friend, Amy is my college friend, Kelly is my work friend. My online friendships are just as real to me as my friendship with any of my other friends. And I'm thankful for the internet that allows me to connect to people that have the same interests that I do and allows me to build those friendships with real substance before I have to deal with all those worries that normally consume me when I am meeting someone in person.
So listen to Technology Bytes on Wednesdays. My friends are on that show.
Can I just say this as a post script. The IRC chat room was, er, interesting.