Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Internet and its impact on human relations

A recent round robin challenge that I participated in got me thinking about friendships. Thanks to the Internet we can now divide our friends into two broad categories. Simply put they are online and offline friends. Offline friends are those that you meet in the real world. They might be friends that you have grown up with them and have managed to stay close into adulthood. Then there are people you meet around the neighborhood. I usually need some kind of catalyst to get me talking to a person I don’t know. In my case the local Mosque served that purpose. I met some really nice people there.

Then there are acquaintances that you meet during your time at a school or an office or for some people during their tour of duty. Sometimes these relations blossom into a friendship that last even when the two of you have left a particular place. The Internet sure comes in handy at times like these. I lost touch with my High School buddies. I was pleased to find most of them on Face book, which became a big reason for joining that site.

But then there are some friends you meet purely in cyber space. I know that this isn’t anything new. This has been going on for quite a while. In the late 90’s chat rooms were notorious for harboring predators. Who enticed people to meet them in the real world. These kind of meetings turned ugly when you realized that the 16 year old girl you thought you were talking to turns out be a 30 year old man. People have wised up and are extra cautious about these things.

A blog can also be a powerful social networking tool. You can express your thoughts and opinions to basically anyone. And if you promote your site people will start to drop by and listen to what you have to say. Just like in the real world it takes a while for a reader to warm up to you. But they eventually do. And the results can be amazing. Who knew solid friendships could be forged purely through the written word?
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