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!