Saturday, January 17, 2009

Real Friends


"Is this one of your computer friends, or a real one?" That's often what my mom will ask when I am relating a story about somebody. She comes from a generation that only envisioned in its wildest dreams the miracle that is the internet. I met the love of my life online. I found my first success as both a writer and critic online. I have many friends online, most of whom I have never met in person. But it wasn't that long ago the idea might have seemed pretty strange to me, as well.

The internet was just coming to life as I graduated from high school and headed out into the world. A few people had something called Prodigy. Some people later got Compuserve. Then came AOL. Baby steps. This thing called "the internet" or "online" was only for a few. Today I only know a handful of people without internet access, and these few often have to visit a friend or library to survive in a wired world. Tax forms, information once readily available in business lobbies and banks is no longer printed out in cheery, glossy tri-folds. "You can get that online at wwww.this-site.com."

My dad still asks me, now and then, to find something online for him. Or he'll say "can you get that on your machine?" I think Papa is under the impression that I do something miraculous to get him the CD he can't find (on ebay), or the information he needs (google). If he knew how simple and second-nature this is to all of us he'd stop bragging at the donut shop about how clever I am.

I blogged about one of my very good online friends yesterday. She happens to be a Fictionista-- Gwen Hayes. You can read that gushingly joyful post here. Gwen is somebody I haven't yet met but can't wait to hug in person. I've been super-lucky enough to very briefly meet Fictionistas Kristen and Mel. I won't rest until I have hugged each of them at least once. Not by way of a monitor, either. And theRomance Divas are a few thousand of my best friends. Any opportunity to hug some diva will not be missed.

There are my buddies at another online site, The Sceptic's Tank, that I've known since... well, Prodigy. We were among the first nerds to take over the wires. I worked with a few of those dorks at-- for real!!-- the FBI. It was back when the internet was so new it scared everyone.

So how many special people are trapped inside your computer? Any good love stories? Any great friendships?

10 comments:

  1. I met Hairyman at an online dating service, and we couldn't be happier. I've made some wonderful friends online, but I've also been burned quite severely by some of the people I've met and trusted. It's a great way to meet people, but you do have to use caution.

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  2. I've met good friends at various points online. I've had some experiences as Trisha described, people who turned out not to be as cool as they seemed, but on the whole, I've had great experiences with online friends.

    I met one of my very close friends online through a spiritual group and we talk all the time about our joys, successes, and areas where we want to grow and become better people. She lives in NY, so I doubt I would have met her had we not had that online club. And, for a funny side comment, a psychic friend of mine had seen this girl coming about two years before I actually met her.

    I'm also a Romance Diva and I made a wonderful friend, Eden Bradley, through that group and it was just a coincidence that we live in the same area. She is just as cool in person as she is online and I wouldn't trade her for anything! And, there are several Divas I can't wait to see in person...Teresa D'Amario, Lynne Dumae, Mammadivine, Crystal, Tawny Taylor, Seeley, and Lauren, just to name a few. And, after meeting Lili Feisty in person, I'm excited to now call her friend. So, I'm a believer that people who are meant to come into your life will come in whatever way they can and if it's through a little electronic box and a phone line, so be it!

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  3. Through the Divas, I have developed some wonderful friendships among people who know what it is like to struggle through a manuscript. A few near and dear friends I speak about as though we had lunch just yesterday, and now even my mother speaks of Irish (aka Betty) as though she were a long lost daughter...

    The internet is a doorway to unlimited possibilities... the least of which are new friendships, loves, and laughs!

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  4. Oh I love my cyber friends. I can't say that I've had a bad experience yet and everyon that I have met is exactly what I expected.

    And stop gushing about me, lol.

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  5. I'd never been in a chat room, forum or a Yahoo group prior to 2002 or 2003, so it was a major experience for me. I don't think I thought of those first online acquaintances as friends. At the time they still didn't seem real. Sort of like the invisible friends or playmates many kids have growing up. Very surreal. LOL.

    Then I joined a wonderful writer's group on Yahoo and connected. I found myself actually caring about these people and their lives. That feeling intensified after I joined Romance Divas and met the fabulous people there. Best of all, I met my soul sisters through Romance Divas. And for that I will always be internally grateful. ((hugs))

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  6. Now if only they can help me spell. LOL Eternally. Not internally. Yucky innards. rofl.

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  7. Anonymous1:47 PM

    I've got a lot of special people I carry around in my computer (figuratively speaking; my computer's really a big one and not very portable.)I know beyond a doubt I wouldn't have accomplished any of the sales I have if not for online friends lending me support and encouragement (and sharing their knowledge!)

    My best online friends come from two very different forums: Romance Divas and Fantasy-Writers'org. I've been n FWO member for two or three years now and a Diva for about five months, but it feels like longer. I can't thank all my online friends enough!

    --Dara England

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  8. My friends hang out at EHarlequin at the Mouse and Pen and the fabulous Batcave, Romance Diva's, The Sylvanium forum and The Pink Heart society. Then there are my RNA pals and my wonderful cp's Kimberly and Jess. Umm, I have a lot of great friendships that I would never have had without the net.

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  9. I've met some wonderful people I'd love to call my friends online. I'm a member of Romance Diva's, a few yahoo groups , and I did the Muse Online Writer's Confrence last October. I'm learning alot and meeting great people.

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  10. Awwwww I've met some FABOO people through Romance Divas, including the rest of the Fictionistas!

    MWAH--love ya guys!

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