My case for internet friendships

by Lesley on March 14, 2013 · 12 comments

in friends

Earlier this week I wrote about friendship, and how I’ve been really blessed to develop a close community of friends since graduating college.

I’m also a big fat nerd and have a little collection of “internet friends” who I mostly communicate with online but I’ve also met in person, making them “IRL” friends. (IRL is web language for “In Real Life.”)

Anne Bogel (for how often I’ve been mentioning her lately you’d think I have a friend crush…maybe I do…) recently wrote a post about internet friendships called Friends of a Certain Age. She writes, “There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet this month about the dangers of the internet: it’s a distraction; it’s changing our neural pathways; it’s making us crazy.  These things are all true. But I’d like to remind you: it’s also bringing people together.

I’m a big believer in the internet’s power to unite people, and I think it’s especially key for introverts like myself. I used to hate networking events, but because of Twitter I got to know people first through the written word which gave us a jumping off point once we met in person.

In some ways the web allows us to get to know people better.

For example, Michelle and I don’t get together because she lives in Guatamela, but I’m positive we could spend a whole day chatting about faith, motherhood, and careers simply because of our online history. And Claire and I don’t get together as much as we’d like but I always know at least a little bit of what’s going on in her life thanks to Twitter or Facebook. When we do get together, we know where to start the conversation.

As Rachel Bertsche writes in MWF Seeking BFF, “Hiding behind a computer screen seemed an illogical friend-making method, but the more blogs I read the clearer it became that the online community was fiercely loyal.”  I’ve certainly found this observation to be the case in my own life.

Here is a brief introduction to a few of my “IRL” internet friends. I hope some of them might become your friends too.

Kelli was my first internet friend. I met her during the early days of Twitter when it was still a little creepy to meet up with someone you’d online chatted with online. We realized we shared several friends and both went to school in Santa Barbara. After a blind date at Tupelo Coffee we became good friends. Kelli even joined my bible study for a few years and I have her to thank for all of Anna’s sweet newborn photos. She’s currently on sabbatical from photography–she’s welcoming her third baby in June–but make sure you check out her beautiful work here.

Through blogging I’ve become good friends with Anna, Becca, Michelle, Emily and Laura–all Westmont gals who I didn’t actually hang out with at Westmont but have gotten to know through the web. Funny, right? Two of those five girls are expecting babies this summer and I’ve loved swapping e-mails with them about our growing bellies, our fears, and our nursery ideas. You MUST check out their blogs and learn more about the world of foster care, writing, style, and life in Guatemala.

Oh, and then there’s Susan! Susan and I met via Twitter, and after she read about my 2013 food list she offered me a jar of her husband’s sourdough bread starter. Fun, right? Thank you, Susan!

I met Claire at the park one day last summer when she recognized me from Twitter. (We’re nerds, I tell you, nerds!)  Now we get together for walks, chat about church and kids, and encourage each other in our writing goals. You’ll love her blog. Really. Check it out.

PC, or Ragamuffin PC, is another person I became connected with through Twitter and blogging. Like Claire, PC and his wife also live in our neighborhood and have two little girls close to Anna’s age. One day about a year ago we ran into each other at our neighborhood croissant shop and had that awkward, “Oh my gosh, we kind of know each other” moment. He’s an amazing spoken word poet and leads a college group in town. If you want solid teaching and inspiration, head over to his blog.

Through my writing gigs at Her.meneutics I met Tim, a Sacramento area blogger and judge who knows a lot more than I do about life, work and parenting. Recently, my family got to meet Tim and his wife Liz for frozen yogurt. What a treat for me to pick his wife’s brain about parenting, and Tim gave Jonathan loads of great career encouragement. Be sure to check out Tim’s blog. He’s been writing forever but is somewhat of a newbie to blogging and Twitter.

The biggest source of daily writing encouragement are my Redbud gals, who I chat with daily in a private Facebook group. Many of them have read the first chapter of my book and offered valuable advice and encouragement. I get to meet a few of them in person next week during my Orange County trip…and I can’t wait!

So, those are some of my people. Did I make a good argument for how the internet can bring people together? I hope so! Leave me a comment with links to your internet friends!

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10 comments
Michelle
Michelle

Lesley- Somehow I missed this post....amen, to online friendships AND yes, I bet we could spend a whole day chatting! Wish that was possible, but for now I'll take online conversations and facebook messages and somehow this general feeling that even though we don't talk regularly we have so much we could talk about : )

san
san

Having moved 6000 miles from home, most of my friends are Internet friends these days.... it's a lot easier to meet new people online than it is during your busy daily schedule. I made my first long distance friendships with people I had never met through letter writing, so I was not opposed to the idea to form friendships through the written word rather than face-to-face activities. Those friendships always served me well, even if I do miss the face-to-face interactions sometimes.

kelsey
kelsey

I love this post! I'm actually having dinner tonight with a blogging friend who lives in Michigan (I'm in Iowa). She's passing through on a road trip, and we decided to meet up! I've met her before at a blogging conference, but I just think it's so cool that we're getting together! I love that, with the Internet, our friendships do not have to exist only with those close to us in proximity.

Laura
Laura

I have made amazing friends from the internet (you included!) It was so awesome the few times I ran into you at Old Soul and Trader Joes and we hugged like we were old 'regular' friends. My friends here in San Jose since my move I mostly met online too :) and I'm so happy to have the internet to keep me connected to the Sac friends too.

Becca {While You Were Napping}
Becca {While You Were Napping}

I love being your internet friend. :) And I love went the internet and real world collide. I "met" Ashlee G through your blog/twitter.... and then it turned out that our husbands were neighbors and she went to high school with Tovi! I love how the internet can make our world smaller.

Tim
Tim

P.S. Liz was just asking about you guys last night!

Angeline
Angeline

I remember when you and I had a "blind date" for lunch that one time. It was really fun. I'm all for making friends online...I call them "Internet friends." My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I don't care.

Tim
Tim

Lesley, if only you and Jonathan and Anna lived closer, we'd be joining you for frozen yogurt all the time!

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy
Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

Ha! I LOVE how you talk about going on a "blind date" with an internet friend! Exactly. :) You didn't have to convince me internet friends were a good (and a real) thing, but I loved reading about yours.

PC
PC

I know, right?!?! Not to mention the secondary connections we make for other people! I have been following Tim's blog because of the comments he has made on yours. Is it not crazy running into these friends IRL? Its like, "We know one another, but you're supposed be online." I love this post. I could (and probably should) write a similar one.

Trackbacks

  1. […] lots of great posts about friendships popping up around the internet, too. My two favorites were Lesly Miller’s about the value of internet friendship and Shauna Niequist’s post about moving to be closer to […]

  2. […] My case for Internet friendships by Lesley (Barefoot on 45th). I am sure you feel the same. […]