Friendships where the parties have never met is not new, or restricted to the internet. When I was a kid it was the done thing to have a pen-pal in some far flung country that you hoped to travel and meet one day. What is new about the internet is the ability to seek out a community of like-minded people and meet a lot of them at once, incurring few or no expenses; this lower barrier to entry means that more people are able to try it.
That's all very dry and clinical, though. My online friendships have meant more to me than the sum of their parts, though; and because I know some of those people are reading tonight, I will try and explain why. I'm a
Because my friends are kind and respectful, because they have hearts of gold and have accepted me, because I feel supported by them, my life has gotten easier. And that sort of story is the real miracle of friends on the internet.