Online friends post imageWhen we join Twitter, those who befriend us are labeled as “followers”. On Facebook, they’re “friends”.

With blogging, we often label fellow bloggers as “blogging buddies”.

But who are these people, really?

Today’s Lesson

In the comments of the The Cost Of Being Heard post Sara of A Sharing Connection said, in part,

One thing kind of bothers me about the subject of “real” friends and “online” friends I don’t see a great deal of difference, except I can’t see the online person. A friend is a friend. Friendship is about communication and sharing. So what if it’s not face-to-face?

Writing coach Davina of Shades of Crimson shared,

The only time when I feel funny talking to my offline friends about blogging is when I hear myself say, “My online friend so and so said…” It sounds like I have invisible friends, lol. …

In real life it’s easy to label someone we know. We’ll say, “my friend…”, or tag them with a descriptive title such as “my sister”, “my cousin” or “a co-worker.” and whomever we’re talking to, knows exactly who we’re talking about.

But what about the people we meet online? Who are they?

A friend? A follower? An online acquaintance? A fellow blogger? A blogging buddy?

Do we classify them differently because we’ve never met in person?

Are they an acquaintance or blogging buddy first, but after we’ve known them for a while, they earn the “friend” title?

Behind every blog, every Facebook post, and every tweet is a real person with real feelings. Real thoughts. Real emotions.

People just like us.

Although we can’t see them and may never meet them, via words, relationships form.

Are they less important than the relationships we have in the real world?

Maybe not.

Today’s Assignment

When talking to your real life friends about those whom you’ve met online, how do you describe them?

Do you think online and offline friendships/relationships can be equal?

Care to share?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gail Gardner, Barbara Swafford and RC, Stan Carter Jr.. Stan Carter Jr. said: Friends, Followers and Buddies […]

  2. TeeleNo Gravatar says:

    I completely agree with this and I’m glad I came upon this blog post. The other day I was telling a story that I had heard on Twitter and I referred to the person I heard the story from as my “Twitter friend.” My mom stared at me and said your what? I’ve known this “Twitter friend” for over a year and we’ve shared stories, emails and talk on a somewhat regular basis. He definitely would be considered a friend, not just a “Twitter friend.”

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Teele,

      I know what you’re saying. Even though we add a tagline to “friend”, we actually feel some of the people we meet online are truly friends.

  3. Well now, given that one of my ex-fiances is from an Long Distance Relationship (that I met over the Internet via a usenet culture newsgroup), I can vouch that online and offline friends can possess the same intensity.

    The challenges with solely online friends is that anyone can portray any persona they want…so you *do* have to be careful when meeting new friends online. However, we’re all adults and all know what level of friendship we should offer to our network….
    Check out Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s awesome post.My Personally Awesome Cyber Monday Goodness For YOU final cost 0!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s a good point. Many relationships are born online via dating services or like for you, via a usenet culture newsgroup.

      I agree. We do need to be careful when meeting new friends online, however like you said, we are adults. That said, where I do see a problem is when sickos masquerade as children and youngsters are unaware of what’s happening.

  4. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry….real-life friendships win, HANDS DOWN.

    Written communication only conveys a very small part of the intended message. If we only correspond with someone via Twitter or Facebook, how well can we say we REALLY know them?

    Our on-line friends might not even be the same gender or age they say they are (let alone the same person). In fact, didn’t this happen with a well-known blogger, not too long ago?

    I’m not saying that on-line friendships can’t develop into real-life friendships. But on-line is merely the first step.

    If you really want to be BFF with someone, sooner or later you’re going to have to bit the bullet and meet them face-to-face. Or at least talk to them on the phone.

    • ElizaNo Gravatar says:

      I am with Friar on this one … wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that LOL. From someone who did online dating for a year, I know the importance of meeting in person to really get the full picture.

      I had a blogger stay with us for a week .. the wonderful Andy Hayes. Notice I say wonderful. It could have been awful for either or both of us, and committing to a week was a risk. But one I was definitely willing to take (and Andy too obviously) to ‘flesh out’ the friendship we had started through blogging.

      I do use the word friend, but I preface it with the word blogging. Having met Andy, he now gets friend. No preface 🙂
      Check out Eliza’s awesome post.Words From The Editor- Butts- Laptops- Colour- FightsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      That’s true. Those we chat with online may not be who we assume they are even though their credentials show they appear to be legit.

      Having a phone conversation prior to meeting a fellow blogger can reveal a lot, as can monitoring what they’re saying not only on their blog but in their online comments, as well.

      Yes. We did see a recent instance where a well known blogger “came out” and revealed their prior identity was a farce.

  5. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I think I still use the term “online friend” until I meet them in person (and I’ve met several). After that, it’s just “friend”. Maybe my brain just cannot wrap around the idea of calling both just “friend” since it’s a term I already used before internet and my brain becomes rigid in adapting a more general definition.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.Channeling MacGyverMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I hear you. Another thing I’ve found is if I identify someone by their name and I have a real life friend by the same name, I add “online” to differentiate between the two.

      That said, a few of my real life friends know I blog so if I identify a blogger by their name, my friends now know I’m talking about a fellow blogger.

  6. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Interesting question. In “real” life I actually, really truly have little to no social contact. I have no local real friends and I’m kinda okay with that. In some respects it makes my online friends that much more valuable.

    Also, online friends aren’t liable to do a pop in as I take din-din out of the oven. Oh and din-din is not my dog, fyi.


    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re funny George, 😆

      That’s a good point. I’m guessing if we were to have a blogging friend visit, we’d have plenty of advance notice.

  7. Jay SchryerNo Gravatar says:

    I was just talking about this on facebook with a “blogging buddy” who became a “real life” friend. There’s definitely a difference. It is so much easier (and nicer) to meet people in person, where you can interact and react to each other’s emotions and facial expressions. You also get the chance to see them in a variety of social situations, and that helps you get to know them better.

    That being said, I treasure and love my online friends. My writing is deeper and more personal than most of the things I share in my day to day life, and so it’s easier to know the deeper aspects of my personality by reading my blog. My “real life” friends usually have to wait until I trust them before I open up fully to them, and that can take a long time. But if they read my blog, they get a shortcut to my innermost thoughts and feelings.
    Check out Jay Schryer’s awesome post.Giving Up Can Be A Good ThingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jay,

      I agree. If we meet our fellow bloggers in person, we do get to see the whole person and not just a photo and their words. Facial expressions and how they interact with others starts to complete the picture.

      I find that interesting how you share more online than you do in your real life. I can see how that can easily happen since in real life others are so busy or wrapped up in their own lives, they may not take the time to hear us out, and like you said, they also have to earn our trust. When we’re online, we can put it out there, get it off of chest and if others identify with us, great. If not, oh well.

  8. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    “When talking to your real life friends about those whom you’ve met online, how do you describe them?”

    I don’t talk to “real life” friends about “online” friends because I don’t mention my blog, so they don’t even know I have a blog. I try not to mix things.

    “Do you think online and offline friends/relationships can be equal?”

    The problem I see is what I cannot see…with real life friends, talking person to person, we can see body language, and usually that allow us to see if words match feelings and/or thoughts. With online friends we are blind, and the old saying about letters: “Paper can hold anything” does apply to online acquaintances. It’ll take longer to realize how a person is online than it’ll take person to person, unless we take friendship lightly.

    At the other hand, it’s easy to know more in deep an online person because thoughts, opinions and feelings can be written more openly in a blog than what is told in person.

    Bottom line…I think these are different kind of friendships because of the different kind of “connection” and “interaction”; not less, not more, just different.

    Check out Alien Ghost’s awesome post.Possibilities of a Falling EconomyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      True. We can’t “see” our online friends, but like you mentioned, their words can speak volumes. What I’ve also noticed is if we follow a blog long enough and visit some of the same sites the fellow blogger does, we will notice not only consistencies (or not), as well as read what the blogger has to say about other circumstances, too. I don’t know about you, but seeing them respond to different kinds of blog or Facebook posts begins to give me a feel for their true personality.

      I agree. Not all friendships are the same.

  9. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I enjoyed reading all the comments, especially Jay’s. I don’t have the opportunity to meet most of my online blogging friends. Because you folks are mostly overseas…LOL!! Not that distance matters. I have been enjoying the warmth and love from my friendship with bloggers. Awesome bunch, including you, Barbara!

    Which also reminds me that my once online friend became my husband of ten years! Although my husband is Singaporean, he was residing in the States when I first got to know him.
    Check out Evelyn Lim’s awesome post.How To Start A Gratitude JournalMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Evelyn,

      You’re right. There are many of us who will not have the opportunity to meet fellow bloggers, therefore we end up going on what they say, plus the feelings they emit.

      That’s awesome how you met your husband. Congratulations on ten years together. That goes to show, love knows no boundaries. 🙂

  10. I believe a social engine cannot label who my “friends” are; friend is a word to use with care, but that said, of the vast number of our online people, a few, can indeed become “real” friends.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      I know what you’re saying. When we join social networking sites, they’ve already coined phrases we may not agree with, but to participate we accept them.

      And yes, it is possible to become real friends with some of the people we meet online.

  11. AmyNo Gravatar says:

    If it’s true that we will be remembered not for what we have done or said, but rather for the feeling our presence elicited for someone – then I can understand why I have built some welcome and wonderful intimacy (soul sharing) with people on line. I, too, appreciated Jay’s comments. As opposed to Twitter or Facebook, blogging seems to provide a deeper sense of who people are.

    In my flesh and bone life, I speak of my blogger/facebook friend if I am quoting or making a reference.

    However, in any aspect of relationships, I follow what Maya Angelou said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
    Check out Amy’s awesome post.Thank You Great To Have You Back!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      I like how you put that. I agree. Although we may never meet many of the people we communicate with online, if we can make them feel better about themselves, make them smile, or make them feel more knowledgeable, etc., not meeting won’t make a difference. In fact, your comment reminds me of how we can read a book, never meet the author, but yet have their words can be life changing.

      I LOVE the Maya Angelou quote you shared. It’s a good reminder for us to accept others as they’ve depicted themselves to be and not spend our days being skeptical.

  12. Hi Barbara,

    I don’t know why but I always feel compelled to add my two cents to your interesting posts. They always make me think.

    Real life friends. You know that I’m a teacher in my real life, right? Well, in our real life long meetings we often get stopped on adjectives to describe situations. We can talk for HOURS about the RIGHT way to describe someone’s job performance ~ because we have to DOCUMENT it and write it down.

    What I truly believe in my heart of hearts is that blog friend, real life friend, twitter friend, facebook friend, work friend or home friend is just that: someone for whom I believe we are all truly thankful.

    Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog’s awesome post.Time flies when you’re having funMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Julie,

      It does make a difference when we decide to document something, doesn’t it?

      Like you, I’m also very grateful for the friends I have, both online and off.

  13. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    There are online friends that I look forward to seeing, either on their blogs, Twitter accounts, or in the comment section of my blog.

    There are a few, in particular, that I would call friends without any online tag to it at all. These people have loyally followed me and help me out whenever I ask or whenever it is needed.

    I’m pretty sure that if I was in the physical neighbourhood and really needed someone, these online friends would be just as good as my real-life ones.

    It’s all about making connections, as you say. Take care!
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Teaching Tip Tuesdays – Great WebsitesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      I know what you’re saying and like you, I also look forward to reading what blogging friends are up to seeing their comments.

      I agree. In many instances, I’d bet a fellow blogger would help us out (if we asked or needed help), just like real ones do.

  14. Miss BeckyNo Gravatar says:

    I make a distinction between on-line friends and my friends that I have “in person”. There is a difference, but I’m not sure it’s a fair distinction to make, or even why I do it. I’m taking more time these days to read comments left on blogs, rather than simply leaving my own thoughts and moving on. On political blogs/forums I’ve always read the comments of others, because I consider those forums more of a discussion. I wholeheartedly agree with Friar’s comment – it’s more difficult to determine what is real when there is no ability to look into someone’s eyes during a conversation. People can be anyone they want to be on-line, if they never have to meet people in person. I think what we’re talking about here is trust. I need to think about this some more! Wow, great assignment Barbara.
    Check out Miss Becky’s awesome post.365 DaysMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Miss Becky,

      Yes. It does come down to trust. In real life we have that ability to “read” another person, whereas online we’re only going by the words others are sharing. Having blogged for many years now, what I’ve found is if we look carefully, we can also read between the lines and determine if what another blogger is saying is consistent with who they say they are.

  15. SaraNo Gravatar says:


    Thanks for the link, my friend!!! This is a great topic and the responses have been interesting so far. I agree with others that you can’t pick up on some things that you might if you were able to see the person, but I do believe you get a sense of who a person is. Also, even people you meet face-to-face can turn out to not be particularly good friends. It is about trust and believing in your own judgment about a person.

    On the other hand, I also recognize that there are dangers to online relationships, especially with someone young. I think a certain amount of caution is appropriate. It’s a personal decision I guess. Wow, this is tough. Great assignment, Barbara.
    Check out Sara’s awesome post.Quick NoteMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Sara,

      That’s a good point. It’s not just online where we can be fooled. That happens in real life, too.

      I agree. There are dangers online and for young people, being cautious is of utmost importance. As we age we usually have a better sense of what to watch for, but having said that, I think we could still be fooled, too.

  16. I used to say they were equal, but I have to admit that now, with more experience under my belt, I see that online relationships can evaporate faster. Also as Friar said on FB, online it’s easier to fool – at least for a while.

    Having said that, with people like you, Davina, Cath and a few others, I have no doubt that you are for real and that you are who you represent. Still, I suspect these relationships will be easier to sever should any of us decide they are tired of the Internet.
    Check out vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.Sweet- Airy Little Dough Rounds- Jelly Doughnuts Recipe for HanukkahMy Profile

    • Thanks, Vered. 🙂 I feel the same way about you.

      I agree, these relationships would be easier to sever if we moved on from the Internet. If I ever did move on from blogging, there are a few people who I would choose to remain in contact with.
      Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.When Writing Goes StaleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Vered,

      I feel the same way about you, too. 🙂

      I know what you’re saying. If any of us were to leave the online world, chances are most of the relationships we had cultivated would probably dissipate.

    • Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Vered. I feel the same way about you. I was LMAO when I read what you said about us being tired of the Internet though. 🙂 It’s kind of like saying, “when we get tired of breathing”.

  17. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! I don’t think I’ve said anything about my “blog friends” to my “real” friends since none of them blog and think I’m weird enough already, let alone to tell them I have “friends” on line – OMG. I HAVE, however, shared a few tidbits with hubs, about people on line. Esp. one in particular who I’ve talked to on the phone several times, and she was promising to help me with website prep, she wanted to, has had all this experience and knows what a bimbo I am etc – she has totally “intended” to do so much and hasn’t come thru at all. This isn’t like “friends” so I’m in favor of the real deal at this point – give me a REAL friend! You can INTEND something til your ass turns blue, if you don’t follow thru it is totally empty and meaningless. This is one huge pet peeve I have about people in general – don’t intend – DO it.

    Sorry for the ramble but this subject is rather fresh in my mind.
    Maybe its just a generational thing with me but I haven’t found followers to morph into friends after 2 yrs of blogging – though I’m sure open to it! Just recently disappointed in the one I thought I was cultivating!
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Reprogram Your Subconscious by Gale Glassner TwerskyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re funny Suzen,

      I don’t think you’re weird. 🙂

      I know what you’re saying. It can be disheartening to have someone say they’re going to help you with your blog, but then drop the ball.

      I don’t know how common it is for bloggers to “make friends” with other bloggers, however I am seeing more and more bloggers either communicating via telephone or in person. And also with some groups of bloggers, they meet at blogging conventions.

  18. Hi Barbara.
    I’ve talked to about 10 online friends on the phone up to this point. This year, a Twitter friend invited me out for coffee and we hit it off really well. We ended up planning to meet at a local writer’s festival. We are both writers so we had lots to talk about.

    In the past, I’ve watched myself separate online friends from offline friends but ultimately, with online friends just a few numbers separate us. It’s simply a matter of emailing an invite to pick up the phone. That happened to me just last week with another online friend. I’m seeing it happen more and more and I think it is great.

    I don’t think online and offline friends can be considered equal, however. What’s most important to me about friendship is spending time together.

    Thanks for link, Barbara 🙂
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.When Writing Goes StaleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      Yes. With friends it’s best if we can meet in person and create memories in the real world, but like you said, relationships can be developed online and then taken offline.

      How fun that must have been to meet a Twitter friend who lives in your area and is also a writer.

      • It was great fun, Barbara. She’s working on a book of her own and while I was participating in the 3-Day Novel contest this past September, she was cheering for me on Twitter. We can support each other with our writing.
        Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.When Writing Goes StaleMy Profile

  19. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    In my earthbound community, I play a role and when I leave my house I am me within the boundaries of that role/title/ status. I have spent 5 years now just at home – intentionally letting go of that expectation and role.

    Several nice women have come forward to spend some lovely time with me – only recently. One asked me to join her book group, and then needed to apologize because 4 of the members of her group felt that my presence would change the group connections.

    My two greatest friends, who shared the same role, are both deceased – one suddenly last week.

    In my role, I am expected to be a prophetic/visionary voice – also have healing skills when someone has violated the role. In person I make groups, organizations and individuals often feel uncomfortable.

    Online I am more myself, so the people who write emails to me, respond by commenting on the blog, or even if we have phone conversations are a wonder full group of friends, who do not see me in my professional role – it is a refreshing connection that I would describe as emerging friendship.

    I would not describe myself as being good at friendships of any definition or distinction – just as someone feeling my way.
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.The Wisdom To Know The Difference Eileen FlanaganMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. You have my sympathies.

      That is one good thing about making friends online. We’re not subjected to the normal expectations we may have in real life, and in some cases it’s easier to be ourselves.

  20. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I ‘side’ with Friar and Eliza on this .. but on the other hand – I seriously consider some great affiliations with blogging friends and communicate with them by email too – not too much – but keeping in touch .. etc building those relationships.

    Also Jay’s comments .. I feel happier relating to blogs and bloggers and our comments back and forward .. and when I join FB or Twitter properly! .. I’m sure I’ll build a few relationships there too – in fact thinking of I have done – but I feel more comfortable here in blogging land!

    Re explanations .. sometimes I just use the example from a friend .. if I’m wanting to pass on words of interest or wisdom!! .. sometimes I need to explain and add an explanation of their blog usually – it educates others as to what’s going on & why I and others love the blogging space.

    I agree with all the comments really – we make our own ‘rules’ within our own situations .. like George – I’m happy with my own company .. and have friends around the world, and now blogging friends too .. we’re all ephemeral in our own way .. and can wander in and out depending on our needs .. if I visit Bend – I’d look you up .. and most others I’d love to meet ..

    Life is life .. we learn all the time .. bye ‘blogging friend’ with words of wisdom .. !! Cheers from a snowy England .. Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Feathered and Furry Thanksgivings My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      Yes. We do make our own rules and what works for some, may not work for others. Like you said, with blogging we get to meet others from all over the world, some who we may even meet one day.

      I know if I’m ever in England, I’ll definitely be looking you up. 🙂

      • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Barbara .. delighted to know that .. just don’t come now – we’re snowbound! Had about a foot last night on top of an inch or two .. still lightly snowing – beautiful .. but challenging for people wanting to get to work, or nurse the ill. I shall endeavour to walk up to my Mum’s later on .. I don’t think the buses are running today! Yesterday – they got me up the hill and luckily down again! Cheers & see you one day .. are you midnight shifting again? Hilary
        Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Talli Roland a favourite and author The Hating GameMy Profile

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Hilary,

          No, I think I’d like to visit you in the summer months. 🙂

          Yup! I’m on the night shift – watching/waiting to see if we’re going to have to go out and do ice control. So far, so good.

  21. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I think I may still be undecided on this one. After reading all the comments above, I can actually see both sides of the argument. Perhaps there’s a strong case to be made for wanting to meet your ‘online acquaintances’ face to face to see if you can ever be great offline friends? Wherever possible, I think that’s what I’d like to try. 🙂

    • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony .. I think that’s probably what we’re implying – we’re friends in this state as we relate to each others blogs, comments and words etc .. but then face to face we’ll have something in common and will it stick – that’s when the fun begins – but like you I’d sure like to try .. and come down under to see for sure .. H
      Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Talli Roland a favourite and author The Hating GameMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      That’s true. Meeting those whom we communicate with online would be the determining factor if indeed they would be a good friend offline, too.

  22. I describe online pals as friends, for sure! Meeting a couple blogging buddies has been such a treat. I think when hearts and minds are connecting the friendships can be deeper than with IRL ones. And I think bloggers are also talkers so IRL will hit it off too, at least that’s been my experience when I met with blogging buddies.

    Check out Jannie Funster’s awesome post.The Kelly Way Of Putting On SuspendersMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jannie,

      I remember when you met Jeanne. It sounds like the two of you hit it off from the get to and even though your initial meeting was online, the offline encounter cemented what you felt about each from the start.

  23. AnnaNo Gravatar says:

    I want to tell you about my perception of online friends. Due to some circumstances, I belong to one community of disabled people who have the same problems as me. I consider the online friends from this community equal to the friends that I have near me although I hardly ever meet them. They are close to me.
    Blogging buddies are also great but unfortunately I can’t say that they are friends, just buddies but very good ones. I hope I didn’t hurt anyone.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anna,

      You’ve raised a good point. In some instances those whom we meet online (not necessarily fellow bloggers) can become great friends especially when they can identify with what we’re dealing with in real life. Even though we may not “know” them, they can become a great support system.

      P.S. I don’t think you hurt anyone with what you said. Not all bloggers will become “friends”.

  24. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    What a great question!
    You know, I don’t mention online friends to my fleh and blood friends.
    I have some great online friends and value their friendship but for some reason I keep them seperate.

    Guess we do that with lots of areas of our lives, we put each little bit in its own compartment.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Look for the Shining EyesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Keith,

      I can see how that happens; how we might compartmentalize different areas of our life. Plus, I don’t know about you, but many of my real life friends haven’t a clue as to what I do online, and with explaining it being so complicated, sometimes it’s best to not share.

  25. For me, if they were related to business I call them my colleagues and for everybody else I prefer to say a friend. Because whoever and wherever they are in the world and yet we interact with each other, I call them friends. 🙂

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rachel,

      Yes. “Colleague” seems to be synonymous with business relationships. “Friend” is a good way to describe others we meet and if we need to elaborate, we can always add “my online…”

  26. JasmineNo Gravatar says:

    I have never thought of it that way before. I guess I don’t really classify people I’ve met online as friends. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you are right when you say they earn the “friend” title. I mean, a friend is someone you share things with that you wouldn’t with anyone else. Someone who knows your last name and what your childhood was like. There are online acquaintances that develope into personal relationships and friendships, sure, but it’s just like real life. You don’t necessarily call someone a friend after 1 conversation or just meeting them. It takes awhile to develope into that status, and maybe even more so online.
    Check out Jasmine’s awesome jigsaw puzzlesMy Profile

  27. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jasmine,

    That’s true. We usually don’t tag someone as a friend as soon as we meet them (whether online of off), but just like in real life, an online acquaintance can become just as important to us as a offline friend. And true; it may take a little longer online.

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  29. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I refer to folks I’ve known online for a good while as friends. Working for home, I don’t know what I’d do without some of you, I think I’d be talking to the wall. And tools like Facebook have made it even easier to talk and connect.

    Sometimes people ask me how I got to know you all. And I usually say through blogging. Of course, the next question is often – “What’s blogging?” 🙂

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Cath,

      I know exactly what you’re saying. When we work from home, connections we make online become very important. Blogs and social media gives us a chance to communicate, and like you said, help us avoid talking to the wall. 🙂