Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do you think a person can develop close relationships through the Internet?

Originally posted to Xanga on October 1, 2007

I am definitely a nerd. I meet all the qualifications -- I wear glasses, I'm not athletic, I don't like being out in the sun (sunburn, freckles, hurts my eyes, makes me sneeze), I spend way too much time on the computer, I cry over "B"s ("why did I get a 93?! My life as I know it is ending!"), and I live on forums and weblogs. Sad, my friend, sad. But what I've learned, more importantly, is the social outlet provided by the internet. My parents don't understand this, and believe all the best conversations occur face-to-face. But I've learned from experience.

I was like, twelve, and I joined some forum for my favorite music group (ZOEgirl! Show a little love! See, nerd.) I got to talk to the coolest people! In fact, I made some friends that I still talk to every once in a while. And the forum has been shut down for +3 years now. Then I was 14-ish and I joined another forum for a homeschool debate league (I debate - I'm a nerd!) and I happened to meet someone who lived in my area, but whom I didn't know in person. We had some great conversations and (granted, we see each other in person sometimes) I consider him a friend. Last year I joined a forum for my NCFCA region that I help run. When I joined the forum I didn't know a single person, but now I'm so tight with the coolest people, simply because I've had the opportunity to talk to them on a daily basis on this forum. It's remarkable to me!

Then there's Facebook. (And even Xanga, to an extent.) These networking websites that I use daily . . . I have gotten so close to people via the internet. Seems to defy reason. There is something about daily reaching out to people, conversing, getting to know them -- it's something easily done over the internet when the laws of reality constrain against meeting face-to-face. In fact, I think I'm tighter with people I've become friends with via the Internet than in person. I think this is because I personally express myself better through the written word. In person I come across as aloof, conceited, and disinterested, even though these are definitely NOT the attitudes of my heart. It's also easier to be "real" with someone when you're separated by wi-fi and gigabytes. You're less vunerable, so you're more likely to let down your guard. And in my opinion, that is the foundation of a good relationship.

A person can definitely develop a close relationship through the Internet, in my limited experience. :D

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