What is it about the anonymity of the internet that allows people to make friends so easily?
Is it the extra confidence that one can gain from the fact that the person typing to you is half a world away, unable to physically harm you, and unable to see that huge pimple of your forehead. Is it the ability to be whoever you want on the internet?
I know a lot of people who are “somebody else” when they’re online. They have their own online alter-ego. A person that they wish they could be in real life. That makes me question the value of online friendships. After all, if the person is acting different to how they normally would, then how can the friendship be based on anything real at all!
As for me, well I used to have online persona’s. Well, not persona’s, but at least the anonymity offered by using a handle. In the last few months I’ve stepped away from using handles and am now using my real name all the time. I know many people will call me crazy for that but I believe that it is necessary, for people to get to know me, and to be able to trust me and what I put on my site and in my blog.
Can friendships forged over the internet be true friendships? I believe they can. I have a number of online friends, some of whom I have never met as they live half a world away, and I believe I can call them true friends.
Now, I believe that these people are the exception that prove the rule, because I know hundreds of people online, that I talk to regularly, have even met in real life, but would not consider true friends. I wouldn’t consider them even close in category, to the friends that drop around to my house, and I go shoot pool with. And certainly nowhere near having the label of a “true” friend.
So, yes, strange as it may seem, through the medium of the internet you can have a “true” friendship, without ever meeting. Much like a pen pal, but the internet can be more intimate because it is immediate.