Friday, February 19, 2010

i know you! i think.

I love blogs, Facebook, e-mail lists, this whole world of internet relationships.

There are drawbacks, of course. Athol Dickson and Robbie Iobst both blogged about how easy it is to either be offended or to offend when using this type of communication.

But I love the relationships that form. There are people that I truly consider among my best friends even though I've never met them. People I've communicated with for more than a decade. We've shared the best and worst of ourselves and our lives. In some ways that's easier to do in this communication medium.

But I think we can also feel a false sense of familiarity. Many people are using that to replace true intimacy in their lives. If you spend time socializing online, but never having a chat over coffee with someone you can physically touch, then you need to consider trying to build that type of relationship into your life.

The intimacy can be real, but often it's not. I read about your life and begin to feel that I really know you. Yet, I once met someone who's blog I had participated in and talked to her as if we were long lost friends. She looked like she wanted to call 911. I don't really know her. She recognized my name, but she didn't really know me. For all she knew I was a crazed stalker. And I could have been.

It got me thinking, though. I took it as a warning to keep these things in perspective the next time I meet someone I "know" in this way. And if I meet one of my blog readers who seems overly familiar, I need to remember that I've put a lot of myself out here for the world to read.

When have you become someone's friend? When you've exchanged x number of personal e-mails? When you've commented x number of times on their blog? When you get friended on Facebook? Maybe we should coin a new term--"e-friends."

This affects all of us in cyber space. What do you think about it?


  1. I so get this. I'm pretty transparent on my blog, so people think they know me. But when I don't know them as well, the relationship is all one sided. It's the give and take that makes that happen.

    I also have dear, sweet blogging friends where there is that wonderful exchange. And, they enrich my life. But, I never want to stop my coffee times in person. I need to hug my friends, look into their faces and laugh hysterically with them.

  2. I recently saw someone who I talk to often on FB but have only met once. I knew what she'd been going through from her posts. But to see her and talk about it brought it to another level. I saw her tears and heard the crackle in her voice. Nothing, nothing, nothing will ever top personal - face to face relationships. But I still love e friends! :0)

  3. It is easy to hide yourself as an e-friend, only sharing so much. When we are face to face with someone we: see their body language, their eyes, we hear the break in their voice when they talk. It is harder to hide, and don't we try to hide when we are feeling bad? E-hugs just don't have the same effect, the keyboard is kind of cold and hard. :)

  4. I really value my e-friendships. I am much more comfortable writing words than I am saying them so Facebook and e-mail allow me to actually share more of myself than I would face to face.
    I do enjoy meeting and being with people as well though. Both mediums have pros and cons.

  5. I have enjoyed making new friends online, or deepening friendship with those I already know in 'real life'.. I call them blog buddies, but I'm not the kind of person to lay it all out on a blog, mainly because what I say affects my family, too, and they might not want me to spill all the beans to the entire world! But, like I said, I have made some 'friends' (loose term) through my blog, and I do appreciate them and I learn from them. That could not replace my real coffee/real time get-togethers, though. I think it's important to have a good balance.

  6. Kay, this is your friend, Denise Miller Holmes. I'm from your Writers' Group, Words for the Journey.
    I'm also in your Kay Day Book Club: Books That Have Been Turned Into Movies.
    I wish we could go out for coffee sometime 'cause I never see you.


I love to hear your thoughts!