digital friends vs IRL friends

in the past 4 years since i left corporate america i have found the internet to be a lifeline of sorts.  its my virtual office space.  my digital coworkers, my window to the world.  i could not and would not have survived without it.

i joined Facebook 3 years ago after staying away as long as i could.  to date, it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  see i left sonoma state in the middle of my jr year of college without any real way to keep in touch with people. it was 1996 and we didn’t all have cell phones and utilize email like we do now.  so that was it. i just stopped talking to some great people who enrich my life now every day and i was lost without.  i don’t know that i realized they were missing from my life, but now that i’ve reconnected with so many people i realize how much i was missing out on. many of them remain my “digital friends” but that’s okay by me.  we have different lives, we live in different parts of the country, but i’m so glad to have them in my everyday life and to be in theirs.  to watch their children grow up, to get their feedback when i have a decision to make or support when things are challenging (lately, all the time!).  it helps me get through my days knowing at the other side of this computer there ARE people who actually care about me and love me and aren’t judging me.  they are my friends.

lately, i’ve become addicted to Twitter.  i couldn’t understand why it was so amazing seeing as though i don’t have a business, am not a celebrity and am not looking to market myself in any format.  my dear friend Natalie, who incidentally i knew through another friend and i connected on FB and has now gone on to become one of my closest friends. she wanted so badly for me to see the value of Twitter.  she connected me up with a bunch of people she had been communicating with and the rest is history!  we met on twitter, we communicate through FB now and are even planning a trip to meet up in june.  does it really matter that we met on Twitter? not really, the bottom line is we met.  not to change subjects here, but being single and meeting people to hang with you have things in common with when you reach your late 20’s, early & mid 30’s is priceless. it’s not so easy.  i have A LOT of friends.  most of whom are married and/or have children.  i love those friends, don’t get me wrong, but, when it comes time to want to grab dinner at a restaurant on a saturday night or to take a vacation, those single friends are invaluable.

as i’ve gotten older, i’ve started to realize that all my friends fit into a compartment.  each compartment a little different.  there are the friends like i mentioned above, will remain my digital friends and i will continue to follow their lives, and them mine.  we interact and “talk” about life daily and probably help make some decisions about life together.  there are my digital friends that then become my “IRL” friends (in real life),  the internet was just the conduit for us to meet.  and then my lifelong friends.  let’s talk about them for a minute.  i am lucky enough to have picked up some wonderful friends along the way.  elementary school, middle school, high school, the jewish community, camp, various jobs i’ve had etc.  over the years, i’ve noticed how these relationships begin to morph.  as we grow as people and become adults and what these people mean to us changes.  sometimes for the better and sometimes just because life gets in the way for the worse.  i have a really hard time with this.  well, since i’m not great with change, clearly this throws me off all the time, but i know its natural.  that person i had so much in common with at 14, is possible that i have nothing in common with now at 35 except our history. and our history IS important.

i sat in a radio broadcasting seminar about 12 years ago now and the speaker was talking about digital neighborhoods and how instead of going out front and hanging out with our neighbors we will be online and creating digital neighborhoods. i was both horrified and mystified.  how could this be? how could in person communication and interaction be replaced by computers and this internet thing?  i dare say i thought how THIS would be the downfall of humanity.  how we’d be like robots not having feelings, not being able to connect with people emotionally.  boy was a i wrong. i have created a digital neighborhood for myself, one that i quite enjoy being a part of.  no matter where i am how i’m feeling, or who i’m with, my “digital neighborhood” is just a click away. and that makes me feel safe.

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5 Responses to digital friends vs IRL friends

  1. Jennifer says:

    I was super resistant to Twitter at first, too. Eileen and Courtney talked me into joining and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Not so much for Twitter itself, but for the awesome people (you!) it has brought into my life.
    And I totally agree with you about it making me feel safe. Being single at this age is hard and knowing there are other people out there going through the same things is invaluable.
    Thank you so much for being an awesome friend and I can’t wait for our meet up in June!

    • myownbrandofcrazy says:

      Right back atcha!! I’m glad it resonated with you! I get A LOT of flack from family and friends for the time I spend on Facebook. And I don’t care. I want them to try and understand it, I don’t let it get in the way of “real life happening” but when I’m sitting alone, really?? Why not??

  2. Alana says:

    I was so anti twitter for so long and finally caved. I can’t imagine my life without it and hashtags!!!

  3. Pingback: the power of the connection « Tidbits From The Shower

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