Thanks, Carole, for the topic and the title
A long time ago I wrote a post about how the internet is cool, because it is the mother of random creativity.
There is another reason why the internet is cool: because it can facilitate friendships. There are two ways that this plays out -- existing friendships, and new friendships.
The internet facilitiates existing friendships by allowing lighter and lighter weight communication. The teens of today are using email very little, and instead prefer their social networks. Email is lighter weight paper letters (or telephone), and IM is lighter weight than email. All of this means it is easier to keep in touch with people you have met off-line.
Using the internet that way isn't what this post is about, though. This post is about meeting wonderful people online, and becoming friends with them there. There has been a lot written about the negative aspects of meeting people online -- the marriage break-ups, the stalkers, that sort of thing -- but hardly anything about good experiences of meeting people online.
I personally have made a number of friends online, on a shared-interest community. I was lucky to find a place where genuine people congregate, and I have made a lot of friends there. These people are kind and caring; I rely on them for support and I enjoy interacting with them on an almost daily basis. Most of them I have never met in person, though when I have had the opportunity I have gone out of my way to do so.
continues in the next post