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From Cyber Friends to Fast Friends February 28, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, People.

Through internet connectivity and the world wide web, we develop cyber friendships with people we’ve never met.

We share each other’s stories and grow to understand one another . . . even though we may never meet face-to-face.

How often do Cyber Friendships blossom into something more?

When I first joined WEbook, I added writers as friends only after working  with them on a project or two.  I turned down friend requests from writers who randomly pulled my name off the Top Reviewer or Top Writer lists so  they could ask me to review their first draft novels and novellas.

Over time, I stopped rejecting friend requests from unknown-to-me writers.

I learned that cyber friends tend to sit quietly on our profile pages unless and until they have something to say.

Next came Facebook.

Even before I set up a profile page, Facebook prompted me to connect with high school and college friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the occasional stray acquaintance.  I found my WEbook friends (or they found me).  Using my e-mail address book, Facebook identified still more friends for me to invite to the cyber reunion.

In a few short hours of cyber sleuthing, I had amassed an enormous roster of Facebook friends . . . comprised, in large part, of people I hadn’t spoken with in years.

At the thought of catching up with them all, I froze.

Gulp.  I made a mistake . . . quick, hand me an eraser!

As I wondered how to tackle the list, two cyber friends invited me to play Bejeweled Blitz ~ a rather addictive game that kept me occupied  while I pondered the “can of worms” I had opened.

Playing games is a bit like putting the future on hold.  It’s like saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off.”  Blitz kept me occupied while I debated how to connect with so many “blasts from the past.”

Of course, playing Blitz has dangers of its own.

Hand-rolling-diceLike spinning the tumbler on One Armed Bandits, or rolling the dice, winning requires more luck  than skill.

After you train yourself to see “golden opportunities,” games do not always present a chance to score big.

That’s why it’s so addictive.

With other pursuits, we start as a novice, develop skill, and then move on to  conquer more challenging games.  Not so with Blitz!

After mastering the basics, my scores continued to bounce around like drunken ping-pong balls . . . from super high to lower than low, even when I played “better” during the low scoring games.

Word to the wise:  “Just Say NO” to Blitz. 

Surfacing from my short-term Blitz addiction, I returned to the question of how to manage so many long-lost friends on Facebook:

Should I scurry  from profile page to profile page to “catch up” on lost years?  Or let the reunion attendees sit quietly on my profile page?

I ended up doing a bit of both.

Then, last February, I entered the blogosphere for the first time.  I launched Spirit Lights The Way and invited Facebook and WEbook friends to visit.  They did.  Some of them had their own blogs which I visited in due course.

Over the past year, I’ve met talented bloggers who  became blogging buddies and cyber friends.

I discovered new faces in cyber spaces all around the world ~ Canada, South Africa, Ireland, England, Wales, Portugal, Scotland, Germany, India, and the United States.  I subscribed to their blogs and they subscribed to mine.

As the ranks of our blogging community grew, I got to know many of the visitors to Spirit Lights The Way ~ either through comments posted here or by reading entries on their own blogs.

We joke together.  We laugh together.  We learn each other’s likes and dislikes.  We commiserate and celebrate.  We toast each others successes and offer support and encouragement when warranted.

I wondered whether virtual friendships would survive or shatter in the real world . . . whether these cyber bonds would strengthen or disintegrate and evaporate outside the realm of the blogosphere.

Last week, I met a blogging buddy in real time for the first time.

Jeanne has two blogs ~ one for her writing, FlyingGma’s Blog, and one for her gorgeous photography, Mine Eyes Have Seen.  Jeanne and her husband decided to take a mid-winter break from Minnesota to visit Florida for the first time.  Since they planned to stay nearby, we decided to meet for lunch.

We visited Robinson Preserve and De Soto National Memorial on the mainland, then headed to Anna Maria Island for a delicious lunch at Rotten Ralph’s on the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

We capped off the afternoon with a few beers on our deck.

For 5-6 hours, we chatted non-stop . . . with no awkward  pauses.

From Cyber Friends to Fast Friends.

For Jeanne’s take on the day:  Southern Hospitality is Alive and Well in 2011.

No rules.  Just Write!

How about you?  Have you met any of your blogging buddies in face-to-face encounters?

Would you do it again?

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