Sunday, 11 December 2011

How real are virtual friends?

In the non-growing season I spend a lot of time socializing in the virtual world. I enjoy it immensely. The friends made here take up residence in my heart and pop into my mind as I go through the day and take in the news.

Severe storms in the maritimes: is Sharon on Miscou Island OK? Power outage on Vancouver Island: wonder if Robin is in the dark? Hope no tree is falling on Karyn's RV. Any mention of Brazil, and especially Sao Paulo, immediately brings Tint to mind. I mentally waved to Bert and the chickens when a flight took me through Minneapolis last year. And so on.

The picture above, known to its subjects as "4 Cancers" was taken at the home-based wedding of two people who met on the internet, attended by several other friends who were also encountered online. These people live close enough (about 6 hours away) for us to take the friendship to the kitchen table.

True, virtual friends can't come over to help feed the dog or bring in the firewood if you get sick. One needs to cultivate the 'meat space' friends just as much as the garden.
But Paypal makes concrete help possible in other ways. Last summer I spread the news about a young family whose homestead had been robbed. They received donations from strangers living in Holland and California! It was nowhere near as much as they had lost, but it sure helped to know that people out there cared.

My barter-partner and neighbor Rick received a welcome box of childrens books and videos from a woman he only knows through FaceBook.

Don't tell me internet friends are not real!

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