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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?

Related posts:  Blogging: A Waggish Waste of Time?Blogging: Making First Impressions (My Literary Quest) * The 2011 Sexiest Blog AwardDown The Blog Hole * I Can Name That Theme in 3 Notes * Managing the Bloghood  & What The Blog Am I Doing? (SoulDipper) * What Blogs Do You Read & Why? * The Facebook Strobe Light * Facebook Is {GASP} Broken * 5 Etiquette Tips for Facebook * Facebook is NOT Vegas, Baby * Virtual Friendships * Reach Out & Touch Someone * My BFF: Best Friend Forever * You’ve Got a Friend in Oprah (Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror)


1. Debra - February 28, 2011


Remember when there were ‘pen pals’? Pen pals being people with whom we wrote to via pen and paper. wow. pen & paper.

I think the same connections are found in FB or other places. Just like pen pals…some people we will become close to and others not so much.

One of my blogging buddies is Phillip…his blog is
http://diggingthedharma.blogspot.com/. He is a member of my Sangha (Drepung Loseling Monastery). I see him at various talks & classes.

Funny thing is…I knew him by his tweets and blog before I knew him at sangha.:)

Life is good once you allow yourself to enjoy it! Namaste! Debra

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

So true, Debra.

I had a few Pen Pals growing up ~ some were friends that had moved away, and others were the children of my parents’ friends.

There is something to be said for slowly simmered friendships. 🙂

2. oldancestor - February 28, 2011

I never met a blog friend yet, but I have met people through sports and music message boards as long as 10 years ago that I remain friends with today.

Don’t do Facebook for a number of reasons, the first being that there are a lot of people I’d rather not reconnect with.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

That’s cool!

I’ve been friends with some cyber friends for 3-4 years now . . . but haven’t met any in person.

Every once in a while, I get an awkward friend request on Facebook from someone who doesn’t interest me. Usually, I say “OK” . . . then unfriend them if they become a pest. 😉

oldancestor - February 28, 2011

It’s pretty non-threatening if a bunch of people meet in a suitable location, like a sporting event or a concert. Meaning the risk of awkward silences is reduced.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I’d like to meet you sometime . . . at a safe venue like a sporting event or concert. 😉

3. Tilly Bud - February 28, 2011

I’m looking forward to meeting some of my blogging friends one day. If ever you’re in the Manchester area… 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Absolutely . . . especially if you promise to make me laugh out loud in person as often as you do with your writing. 😀

Wait! Can we have a tea party on the ceiling a la Mary Poppins? That would be fun.

Tilly Bud - February 28, 2011

If you bring the cake 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I shall prepare the food and let you brew the tea . . . since I know that you are culinarily challenged. 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Wait! Even better . . . we’ll invite The Only Cin to join us.

I’ve been dying to try some of her adorable pastries and cakes!

Cindy - February 28, 2011

Ha! I’m in, I’ll bring some wine too 😀

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Yay! Par-Tay!

4. souldipper - February 28, 2011

Have you peeked at Technorati’s report on blogs for 2010? I just scanned it minutes ago and it recaps us very well. I liked the idea that blogs are being the informers – in terms of presenting honest, earthy and experiential input about products, etc. through our stories and daily episodes.

I am a BB Baby, Nancy. I had to go through my addictive stage. Now it’s a filler. It’s my mental doodle when I am listening to a speaker, interview or some other program.

Live on the blogosphere is transforming us and I love being a part of it.

Enjoyed catching this glimpse of your path, Nancy.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Thanks, Amy.

I’ve never heard of Technorati, but I do believe that sharing information through blogs can be integral to our paths.

That’s the perfect way to play BJB ~ while listening to something more productive. 😉

5. Paula Tohline Calhoun - February 28, 2011

You’re whetting my appetite more and more. . . We really are looking forward to the trip. Wish I could give you a more definitive date, but we got some news (exciting) this weekend (can’t share yet, but soon1) that might change our plans around a bit. Time will tell.

I’ve found that I have time for one “social network” now, It takes so much to keep my blog afloat, that if I spent any time on Facebook or WEbook, I really would NEVER sleep. Bad enough as it is! 😀 I drop over to FB to check on family, leave a note occasionally, but I spend only about 1 hr./week now as opposed to 1 or 2 a day! WEbook has really faded for me, but I am keeping my project book going and contributing fairly regularly, but I haven’t been shopping for business there in a long time!

Guess I’m a one-trick pony! But when the energy reserves are limited in the best of circumstances, “you makes yer choices, and live widdem!”

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I’m rarely on WEbook or Facebook these days. Just a quick peek now and then to stay in touch with a few folks.

Oh, I’m guessing that Grandbaby #2 is on the way . . . but I won’t spill the beans.

Once your dates firm up, let us know. I expect that we’ll be around for most of the spring and summer months.

6. Rosa - February 28, 2011

I am so new to the blogosphere and facebook that I haven’t met anyone in person that I met online first… Maybe someday!!

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I expect that opportunities will present themself to all of us . . .

I had not seen a photo of Jeanne before they walked in the door, so I had no idea what to expect. That added to the fun.

I’m delighted to say that Jeanne (and Dean) met and EXCEEDED our expectations in all regards ~ personality, charm, looks, manners, intelligence, and wit. 😀

flyinggma - February 28, 2011

Now I shall have to get a helmet out for my head today to keep it from swelling past a proper size. Such kind compliments and Freshly Pressed all in one day. Thanks Nancy 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

They grow ’em good in Minnesota! 😀

Glad your week is off to a great start.

7. Tilly Bud - February 28, 2011

It is a wise guest who knows her host’s limitations and prepares accordingly…getting The Only Cin to bring the food is nothing short of inspired.

It is a wise host who knows her own limitations and lets the guests bring the food. I am very wise.


nrhatch - February 28, 2011

And witty!

8. Alannah Murphy - February 28, 2011

Have I missed reading your posts 🙂

I’ve made a few good friends who I first “met” virtually, on the other hand, I’ve also come across some scary nutters that need to be locked up…fortunately, those have been far and few.

What I love about the internet, is how we have been able to chat to people we would have never come across before, because of being separated by geography 🙂

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Thanks, Alannah. Hope that your life is getting sorted out and that you’ll be back posting with regularity again soon.

Scary nutters . . . yes, one or two of those floating about in cyberland. 😉

I agree. Blogging with people south of the equator reminds me that winter and summer are happening simultaneously. Blogging with people 1/2 way around the globe lets me see that day and night are a continuum.

Thanks for swinging by.

9. kateshrewsday - February 28, 2011

I started writing to have somewhere to put words. But somewhere in there the friendships took over. It’s lovely to have like minds to think alongside and add new perspectives. And from all over the globe, too. Lovely to hear cyberfriendships can make the leap into the real world.

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I agree ~ the writing quickly turned into connections I enjoy almost as much as playing with words.

I hope to meet many more cyber friends in real time ~ yourself included, Kate.

I’m dying to sit down with a bottle of wine and The Only Cin. But I’m not eating venison, or calamari, or mushrooms, or . . . turducken! 🙂

Cindy - February 28, 2011

A little platter of mushrooms stuffed with spinach and feta then?

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

I love spinach and feta . . . hold the ‘shrooms. 🙂

10. barb19 - February 28, 2011

I have met two of my online friends in person – one from Canada and one from Singapore. I live in Australia and they both came here.
It was quite extraordinary meeting them face to face; the Canadian lady still visits me after 6 years!
The way it happened deserves a post on it’s own, so I will get to work on it!

nrhatch - February 28, 2011

Excellent, Barb. I look forward to hearing the story.

11. jannatwrites - March 1, 2011

Such a cool story, Nancy. I haven’t met any of my online acquaintances in person, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as I didn’t sense any creepy vibes. I’m glad your online friend is an even better friend now!

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

Creepy vibes give us that sense of “don’t go there.” We ignore our intuition at our peril.

Jeanne is terrific. Hope our paths will cross again some day.

12. 4minutewriter - March 1, 2011

Taking the plunge from cyber-friendship to real life meeting… Hmmmmm… I feel like these are two separate worlds, so to cross from one to the other is surreal to me. Do people turn out to be how you imagined? I wonder…
Glad to hear your real life meeting went so well.

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

I hear you, Zoe. I expect it depends on the two people involved.

From our e-mails back and forth to set up the meeting, I expected that Jeanne would be a delight. I was right. 😀

13. eof737 - March 1, 2011

Yes, I have met several of my cyber friends… via twitter and triiibes. I wrote about them on both of my blogs and I am still friends with them. As for Facebook, the majority of my friends there are people I know, went to school or work with, and have met… or plan to meet.
Good for you to connect with Jeanne in Florida. It’s great when the online experience meshes offline.
Thank you,

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

Thanks, Eliz. That’s cool. I just joined Mirth and Motivation and haven’t seen those stories. I’ll look for them.

14. clarbojahn - March 1, 2011

A very interesting post, Nancy, I am still so green in the bloggosphere that my friendships are just beginning. I only do facebook about once a week and it’s with people I know and family. It gives me more contact with sisters and son in other states and Canada. I know I love the blogosphere and the back and forth. Comments have become a wonderful part of my new life.

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

Thanks, Clar.

That’s an excellent idea, to limit FB to once a week just to keep in contact with family.

15. Tokeloshe - March 1, 2011

Great post!

If one takes the time to figure out the Facebook settings, you can have a list of “limited profile friends”. How weird is that?

I often wonder what it would be like to meet another blogger 😉

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

Thanks for that tip, Tokeloshe.

A number of my FB friends are people I don’t know who share an interest in animal rights, vegetarian diets, the environment, etc.

It would make sense for me to set them up as limited profile friends . . . if I can figure out the settings. 🙂

Tokeloshe - March 2, 2011

Scroll down the page to Limited Profile.

Let me know 😉

nrhatch - March 2, 2011

Thanks, Tokeloshe!

16. Sandra Bell Kirchman - March 1, 2011

I haven’t been blogging long enough to have real blog buddies or cyber friends. However, I played online games such as EverQuest and WoW for years and made some fast friends 9 or 10 years ago that are still friends to this day. I have only met a few of them, but the impression I got from my online interaction with them remained even stronger after my face-to-face meeting with them. I think that is the biggest thing I have found with cyber friends who become real-life friends. There’s nothing different. It still feels the same.

nrhatch - March 1, 2011

Thanks, Sandra Bell. That’s pretty cool that you’ve maintained friendships with your gaming buddies for that long.

Here’s to Cyber Friendships!

17. crazygoangirl - March 3, 2011

A great story of friendship! Also, and this is just incidental…a restaurant named Rotten Ralph’s?

Me…I’m addicted to Farmville! Some of my Farmville friends do read my blog as well, which is rather nice 🙂

nrhatch - March 3, 2011

That’s nice. I managed to avoid the addictive nature of everything on FB. After BJB, I stayed away from ALL the apps.

Now I only use FB as a message board and photo album.

18. what I know now… | jeanne's blog - March 10, 2011

[…] From Cyber Friends to Fast Friends (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

19. The Treasure Our Friends Hold | TRAVELITERATURE - April 1, 2011

[…] From Cyber Friends to Fast Friends (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

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