17 April 2012

Imaginary Friends

Way back in the earliest days of the Interwebz, I met people on AOL through chat rooms and stuff. Met some cool people, really. But there was this idea that people online were always out to scam you! You have no idea who these people are! They could be killers! Don't trust the people you meet online!!!!

Over the past couple of decades things have changed. Yes, we are still to fear anyone using Craigslist, but on the whole, many of us interact with others solely using social media and email. There are people I've known since the 90s that I've never met in person. If I know you online, but have never physically seen you, I refer to you as my Imaginary Friend.

I just need to spend a few minutes today praising those people, those staggeringly awesome figments of my over-active imagination. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone on Twitter be the first to ask me if I'm okay on a bad day, or to be there with a cyber hug. They are there to celebrate good news and help me navigate choppy waters.

And they are genuine.

I appreciate and love those who are so open and real with someone they've never met. Thank you for giving a damn and being amazing. Thank you for being my friend...even if you are a bunch of 1s and 0s. :-D



Stace said...

Right back atcha, dear!

Marisa said...

Love you!

Adrian Morgan said...

As part of a university assignment back in 1999, I gave a presentation on whether the Internet is harmful to human relationships. And one older member of my tutorial group was aghast to hear that I was planning to meet, on a then-upcoming trip to Europe, some of the friends that I'd made online. He thought I was being rather incautious with my own safety! Of course this wasn't the only time I encountered that attitude, but it was the most memorable.

I believe people like that, when they imagined social interaction on the Internet, imagined a dialogue between two people about one topic (probably on a dating site or something). In that enviroment, yes, scamming is relatively easy to pull off and it pays to be cautious. Meanwhile, the reality more typically involved a conversation between many people about many topics over a long time. Inherent in that environment is a degree of scrutiny very few scammers can handle. Fundamentally I think that's what the "don't trust people you meet online" crowd failed to understand.

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