Do you have online friends that you consider real friends? Or are they friends in name only?
My own experiences with online friends have been wonderful, and many of those friendships have gone on for more than two decades.
I've also been blessed to have met many of my online friends in person. Of all of them, only two were very different in personality compared to how they presented themselves to be in online chit-chat and discussions.
Today's post features my friend and colleague Victoria Warner of WarnerWords, writing about this very topic from both a personal and professional perspective.
To keep you in the know, this post was written in Sechelt, BC, Canada, in wonderful company, and beautiful surroundings overlooking the Pacific Ocean with Vancouver Island and a few of Washington (state's) mountain tops visible on the horizon.
I'm enjoying an incredible experience in the company of wonderful friends and happy to extend some of the important aspects of all of it to you, through Vicki's inclusion below.
"Real" friends via the internet?
Be it Facebook, Google+, Twitter, an online like-interest forum, etcetera, the contacts we make via the internet often become people we develop personal relationships with. I’ve had many of my friends in real life tell me it’s an impossibility that you could get to know someone simply by connecting with them online.
In my case, as a writer, when writing online I get acquainted with other writers who work online as well. I realise more about their lives, their ways of writing, and value their comments when they offer observations on short articles you write. I do the same for them. But do I really know them as I do the physical friends in my life?
Going on four years ago I decided to start writing online, and began the process of learning all about it. Online writing is a very different style from my former academic writing efforts, but gradually I started to enjoy it. One of the big bonuses was meeting many online friends.
Through their writing I was able to form mind-pictures of what they were like in their real lives.
But, how do you know for sure who they are and what they're like? You hear terrible stories of online crime, identity theft, scams, and so forth. Caution is great, and important too of course. If you don’t visit other unrelated, quirky sites you're pretty safe it seems. The Ashley Madison website shenanigans might be a good example of a site unrelated to writing and a dangerous one as well! In all my time of writing so far, I haven’t had any of these problems, just enjoyed meeting fellow writers, several of whom have become close friends.
So, it can be extremely valuable to write on a writers’ site prior to thinking about your own literary or photo-journalistic website. That way you’ll be in the company of literally hundreds of interesting folks, some of whom you’ll choose to interact with. The friendships you develop there will become the foundation for continuing on with the education of developing your own website.
In a way it's almost like attending high school. That's where you’ll start to meet your first friends, unless you’ve already been a social-site diva, which my friends know I’ve studiously avoided! But, if you have, and you’re enthused about writing for a living, all socialising (on and off the internet) makes the next step in your progress towards a website of your very own much easier.
If you’re genuinely interested in your online friends, you learn to be a team player, helping them with your talents and encouraging their strengths as they fill in the parts of your own lesser strengths. They give you huge confidence with the process of website development.
At the moment one of my best friends and colleagues, Angelia Phillips of flashpress, is visiting me, having come all the way from Indiana! It's a combined play-and-work trip, a very exciting experience.
On our first day together someone asked how long we'd known each other. We looked at each other, in shock for a moment. I think it was then we realized what close friends we had become over the years. It's one of those situations when you almost have to have been there to understand.
Yes, internet friends and colleagues can be as close (or closer) than friends you see (in the physical sense) on a regular basis.
You get to know them and what's happening in their lives, very well. To finally have the opportunity to share your surroundings and home with them is an amazing thing to do.
What I’ve learned from my online friends and colleagues
Where do you go from here?
My website has become the central station in my life to meet with thousands of wonderful people who know I publish every Monday and Friday. That’s my way of thanking them and committing my best thoughts on the screen for them.
Fellow bloggers have a sort of inside joke that we are the Weeblyhood. That’s because a bunch of us are gradually building more and more sites through our preferred web host, with the strange name, but the fabulous, distinctive look of Weebly.
For some examples have a look at these...
Are you ready to join in the adventure?
If you have already, you automatically qualify for a Woohoo!
If not, my dear friend Ange, otherwise known as femmeflashpoint (it’s the little temper tantrums you see), of flashPress, will be delighted to help you join the Weeblyhood! Just email her.
I’m looking at her as I write this. It seems to answer the question.
My thanks to Vicki for making today's post sooooo easy-peasy!
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
The smallest tip goes the longest way--like a good cup of coffee.
marcoujor, Virtual Buskers Guild
flashPress is a totally free site, but, if you like it and would like to leave a tip, I'll surely put it to good use on things like food, clothes, fuel for my auto, soap to shower with, etc. I think those qualify for seriously good use. ☺
Thanks for your support of the indie biz community--Live long and prosper!
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