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These days, many of us are spending countless hours on the internet…probably more time than we even realize (yes, mobile e-mailing, Tweeting and Facebook count, Debbie N’Denial).  And though much of our time is spent interacting with friends, family and people from work, a lot of us are communicating constantly with others we’ve never actually met in real life.

Sounds like something the Jetsons might have predicted, if you think about it.

Folks have got Twitter crews, blogging boos and all kinds of folks who they may never actually lay eyes upon, yet interact with on a daily basis. And this isn’t some odd phenomenon amongst anti-social people who’d prefer to make friends from behind a computer screen…everyone is doing it these days (albeit in very different ways and amounts). As someone who was years ago very reticient to interact with strangers online, I’m surprised at the number of people who I’ve bonded with by way of my laptop or Blackberry, especially considering that I never thought to myself “I should look for some friends on the computer.”

Is there a limit to how much one should value a cyber friendship? Does it only count if you take it offline…or should you even go there? Are you willing to go to “Tweetups” or mixers with people you’ve only followed on the ‘net, or do you prefer to keep these relationships strictly digital? Are you more or less likely to go face-to-face with someone you’re romantically interested in than with a platonic e-friend? Or do you find the entire concept to be weird? Holler at us, Clutchettes!

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  • Hey!

    Meeting people from via the internetz has made my social transition from ATL to NYC a breeze. I found the bulk of my party crew at a podcast meetup! A few weeks ago I met an awesome lady via twitter:-) She found me by searching her favorite topics. Turns out we had a lot in common!

    I have an interesting relationship with an buddy that I met via black planet AGES ago! We literally grew up together, ha! We went thtough, BP, AIM, myspace, collegeclub, google chat, facebook, last.fm and now we’re on twitter together. Wow! We’ve gone to concerts together and all! He’s even met my husband. Isn’t that something!? I consider him fam now:-)

  • Alexandra

    I’ve met lots of cool people online. People who share similar views, taste in films/music, etc; it can beneficial to many people. As someone mentioned above the support you can receive from online friends can be extremely great. There are online support groups from everything to weight loss, depression, marriage, parenthood, etc; Even though I don’t use social media much, I do like that about it.

    Cyber friendships has also helped my language learning process easier. I’ve made cyber friends from all over the world that are teaching me a plenty. My friend chatted with Italians/Germans before going on her trip bi-country trip. She kept up with her friendships and eventually met up with some of the people she befriended. Hopefully, when I embark I can meet these cool people too.

  • Isis

    Yes, I actually interact with more people online that have common interests/beliefs with me than in real life. Its crazy but it makes sense. Its easier for me to find a blog/website/forum where people discuss things that I’m interested in than finding it in real life.