Friday, June 10, 2011

Cyber Friends

Today on Facebook someone spoke about a friend they'd met on the internet. The friend had been very encouraging and when this person had some news, he'd sent this friend an email only to get an email back from the friend's wife saying he'd died in a car accident a few days before. The man was shaken by this, by the death of his friend who he'd never actually met. It got me thinking about cyber friends.

I've had a few cyber friends who just vanished. When I first got internet and started being serious about my writing a met a man at Writers Weekly who became my friend. He was also just starting out as a writer and we started communicating. He was very helpful and I relied on him for advice on many things about writing. But then suddenly he disappeared. I never found out what happened to him, though I often think about it.

Some think cyber friendships can't be as important as flesh and blood ones, but I'm not sure about that. I have quite a few cyber friends who I care about. Some I've gone on to meet in person like Colleen Higgs, Tania Hershman, Vanessa Gebbie, Sue Guiney, Fiona Snyckers, and there are many others. Because of my isolation from other writers, the internet is where I find other writers to discuss this business with. Those discussions are very important to me.

I suppose there are people who show a completely false side of themselves on the internet. I've not had much experience with that, but I've heard the stories. Mostly I've met bright, interesting engaged people, the sort of people I would seek out in my flesh and blood life. My life is fuller thanks to my cyber friends, and I'm grateful for that.

What do you think? Are your cyber friends as important as your flesh and blood ones?


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Lauri, I agree cyber friends can be - are - as important as flesh-and-blood friends. I've also heard the stories of the "false" persona. We get fooled by some people in real life, it may happen on the internet too but 99.9% of the people I interact with on-line strike me as just being themselves. Some people I've interacted with over 6 years - I've never met them live - but I know them as well (sometimes better than) my live friends, and have just as deep relationships. So, yes, my cyber friends are as important to me as any other.

On another note, I think I'm going to give hubby my passwords and ask him if I fall under a bus and get flattened then he must come on my social media sites and tell my friends so they don't just think I vamoosed!
Judy, South Africa

OneStonedCrow said...

Interesting post Laurie - I also think about the people I communicate with on the Internet and wonder what they would think if I just 'disappeared'.

I've never met anyone from cyberspace and I can't consider these friendships as important as flesh and blood relationships.

Having said that, I must admit that my Internet relationships are important to me, I think about these people often and feel concerned when they are in ill health or unhappy about something in their lives.

I don't know if, were we to meet, that I would even like the internet people I know or vica versa ...

... I do have one fantasy about them though - I would love to be able to take my cyber-friends on a tour of this beautiful country I live in but, realisticaly, this will probably never happen.

Elspeth Futcher said...

I don't know what I'd do without my connections on the internet. I've 'met' so many lovely people - some of whom I've talked to on the phone, many of whom I'd like to meet in person. I think especially if you don't live in the 9 to 5 world, contact of any sort with the outside world is vital.

Enid Wilson said...

I think they are as important as our normal friends, sometimes more, because we tend to communicate with them more often.

Chemical Fusion

Sue Guiney said...

So interesting that you should write this now, because I'm in a "writerly down" today and I have been thinking that the only people I can really talk to about such a thing are my cyber friends. They are definitely as real to me as my other "physical" friends, and in some ways play a more difficult emotional role in my life. There's a reason why when we "first" met, we picked up as if we were old friends, I think.

Lauri said...

Yes Sue you're right. When you meet your cyber friends in the flesh it's not like they're strangers to you, you just carry on, and perhaps that shows more than anything that the relationships on the internet can be as real as the ones out here.

I'm sorry you're having a writerly down day Sue. This writing business turns all of us bipolar to some extent, byt its nature I think.

Judy, I think you're right. We need to make arrangements for our cyber friends when we die too. They want to know where we've gone.

Yes Elspeth there is that too for us that work from home, like you and I. Especially now that all of my kids and my husband will be off to university in August. I can spend the entire week without meeting a flesh and blood person.

One Stoned Crow- your blog does just that, your photos give such a clear image of Namibia, a country I love as well. Sometimes when I'm lonely for Namibia I go to your blog and look at photos, especially your ones at the ocean. I love them.

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Anonymous said...

Cyber friends are definitely as important as real friends. I count some of my closest friends among people I have met online. I don't think I would have kept writing if not for the support of people on the net. If you get into the right group of people it can be very encouraging and motivating.

I have lost contact with several bloggers and often wonder what happened to them. Sadly, I learned two of them had died. I found out long after the fact because their families didn't know how to access their blogs or email accounts. It upset me a lot. It was as bad as losing any friend.