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?