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Dave Reynolds > Are On-Line Friendships Real?

Are On-Line Friendships Real?

Question: Are On-Line friendships real? I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently. I did not know Trey Pennington. As a serious student of Social Media, I certainly knew WHO he was and WHAT he stood for. His passing affected me deeply and profoundly. How could someone with so many “friends” (over 100,000 Twitter followers and 4 different Facebook accounts each at 5,000 friends) be so uncertain about life? Easily pondered not easily answered, perhaps impossible. Please bear with me while I try to explain and let me start here. I think friendship is a responsibility not an opportunity. I have honestly tried to live that thought. On-Line “friendships” are a pretty new thing for me.  A lot of kind and generous people are found On-Line particularly here in the NextSportStar.com stream. This is good. But, what if an On-Line “friend” was in REAL trouble? The kind of trouble that, although helpful, kindness and generosity with one’s time and good wishes, is still not alleviated. I say again: Real “friendship” is a responsibility not an opportunity. Whether On-Line or in real life. (IRL)  If I publicly state to be your “friend”, then when you are in REAL trouble,  it’s my responsibility as your “friend” to help or I am a fraud. An On-Line friend of mine experienced some REAL trouble recently. He did not ask for my help. I just did.

“Friendship” is interesting in that it kinda resists any linear structure and is really not measurable in any practical sense…but if you care enough to help someone out, and really reach out to them in today’s world then, you are a friend. So maybe, just maybe I’ve answered the question. I care, ergo on-line friendships ARE real. They impact my life just like the friends who live on my block. In some cases, MORE!

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Nov at 8:49 PM

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One Response to Are On-Line Friendships Real?

Renee December 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Yes, online friendships are indeed real, but because social media such a convenient medium, internet interactions can be so easy to walk away from. There\’s a difference between knowing someone and knowing *about* someone.

We all read about tragedies that happened moments earlier on Facebook or on our Twitter feed, feel sad, then share wacky cat photos five minutes later, not because we have no heart, but because we\’re over-stimulated; the deluge of information and stimulation is overwhelming.

I\’ve often thought that when I read of something tragic happening to someone a thousand miles away or even in my own town that *something* is required of my heart and soul in response—not because I feel obligated to manufacture a response, but because I want to have a soul that feels, a soul that sees beyond my own entertainment or urge to broadcast my online persona, a soul that responds offline and in the flesh. I can\’t think of anything more valuable than the cultivation of compassion, both online and offline. How I live that out in a digital world is something I\’m quite clumsily exploring.

Thank you for articulating this very important question!

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