Lunchtime Poll: Internet Friendships

Good lunchtime, P-Mag! Are we all kicking ass and taking numbers today? (Me neither.) For today’s LTP, let’s talk about Internet friends. 

I think almost everyone who is reading this right now has experienced the wonder of an Internet friendship. Since such a thing was completely unpossible until I was out of college, and even then it was pretty tricky until the late ’90s, it’s been interesting to watch the previously unpossible become not only possible, but commonplace.

Who was your first Internet friend, readers? Have you ever had to defend your Internet friendships in the “real” world?

Published by

[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

14 thoughts on “Lunchtime Poll: Internet Friendships”

  1. So I write fanfic. About 3 years ago I really got into it once I found Twisting the Hellmouth, a Buffy crossover site. Through leaving reviews on each other’s stories and interacting on the forum, I made a couple of friends that transitioned into e-mail penpals and even, with one, a Facebook friend who I met up with in real life when I vacationed in her city. For the one I proofed the eulogy she wrote for her father. For the other (FB/now IRL) we chat pretty often about anything from fandom to ‘real life’ things. Of course, only 2 of my friends IRL know about how I write fanfic so it can be kind of awkward when I explain my internet friends, so mostly I don’t discuss them much. However, I adore them mucho! I have plenty of IRL friends, still people from high school and even college almost 10 years later, but it can be nice to have ‘internet friends’ – you can share things that you can’t always share with your IRL friends,i.e., IRL friends can sometimes judge you or maybe overshare their opinion about things in your life (not that my IRL friends are bad, but if I were to say “hey, there’s this really attractive man who asked me out but he’s over 20 years older then me, they would be totally “EWWWW Luna! What are you thinking??” yet when I posted on Jez people were chill about giving level-headed advice).

    I feel like through Jezebel I began to start making internet friends but then everything went phooey over there and hopefully I can stay connected to people/get connected to people here :)

  2. My first Internet friends have been fellow military spouses, who I met through a Canadian military families forum. I’ve had a the privilege to meet some of them in real life, and it’s been great. Because I don’t, and never have, live on base, their experiences have really opened my eyes. They’ve also been so very supportive when I’ve needed it.

  3. I’ve always found it pretty hard to cultivate friendships (a touch of social anxiety, alas) and the same, unfortunately, applies on the internet. I always found that strange, since I thought that at least certain self-imposed barriers would be removed in this kind of environment. Apparently not – at least in my case.

  4. One of my first internet friends (during the age of dial-up an AOL) was a fellow Sailor Moon devotee. We would RPG and write fanfics all the livelong day. It was only when I got older and started to develop a social life IRL that I started drifting away from internet  friendships. Then Facebook got dropped in my lap =D

  5. I don’t know about the first, but Mr. Nonsense was up there.  He’s the only one I’ve met in RL. :)

    And yes, I had to defend our friendship (and eventually relationship) to RL friends, but somehow the people who had the most issue with it are no longer in my life.

     

  6. I didn’t start making internet friends until I started hanging out on the Ladyblog-That-Must-Not-Be-Named and then followed people to tumblr during one of the shitstorms a few years ago. Eventually I wound up being facebook friends with a huge chunk of people from there (and PMag) and I like them a hell of a lot more than the people I know IRL.

  7. My first internet friend was actually a group of women- labeled “Waiting Friends” We were all waiting for something at one point.  As forums and sites changed we stuck together and moved around.  We are all now connected through fb and have been friends for over six years.  So I think this moves into the realm of real friends…sort of like penpals but better.  We know so much about each other because of internet ease.

  8. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I have a lot of internet friends. Back in 2001, I started posting at an internet forum that was part of Michael Moore’s website. I began posting, tentatively, in July of that year. The guano hit the fan in September – and the place went wild. The form changed iterations a few times, Michael Moore dumped the forum, eventually, when gun nuts invaded after “Bowling for Columbine” but some of us were so connected by then that we were able to start again. We are from around the world. We’ve fought tooth and nail. We’ve come and gone. We’ve gotten older together. We’ve grown up a little. Many of us have met in real life. We share baby pictures. I will probably never meet the folks in Australia, England, Greece, Panama, or even Montreal – but some of them really are friends. When my husband was sick and dying, they were part of my support group. Of course there are a few people there who are rabid anuses, but that’s typical of anywhere.

    I’m a writer/blogger, so I have contact with a whole lot of folks, from all over the place. I recently met one of my internet friends in real life at a political event. It’s such a cool thing to meet someone that you already know so well. It must be akin to how people felt when they met pen pals they’d been corresponding with for years.

    I don’t hunch over a computer 24/7 (well, not EVERY day) but I enjoy having these friends.

  9. One of the first complete strangers who I had friendly online conversations with was some guy in Florida who was into Ayn Rand, in the beautiful days of AOL IM. Hee hee.

    I’ve experienced beautiful, deep friendships and a sense of community online, but translating any of it into real life has been very hard.

    1. Yay! That’s me!

      I have a lot of Internet friends, many of whom I count among my best friends, unqualified by “Internet.” They’re just my friends. The great thing about the Internet is that it allows you to find people you have a lot in common with. The bad thing is that they rarely live near you. I think that online friendships have come a long way in even the last few years. Some people (Mr. PoM, for one) still view these friendships with a healthy dose of worry and skepticism, but you take just as much a risk with people you meet at school or work or at the library.

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever had an internet friend, especially one that I’ve met IRL. There was once a dude that I met on a piano forum who was really nice (I was 15) until he sent me photos of his pecker.

    I’ve been pretty internet friend shy since, although it would be nice to try again and find some nice ladies online!

Leave a Reply