I am a fairly new blogger, and it's been great getting to know other people with interests that are similar to mine. I've gotten the chance to get a glimpse into the lives of people from different parts of the country, and even the world. On the right hand side of my blog is a list that I call "My Friends' Blogs" and I really do feel that these folks are my friends - they're a great bunch of scooterists and motorcyclists!
I asked my kids (one is on Facebook and the other is on MySpace) how many online "friends" they have - one said 160, the other said 300 - I was assured that all of them are known personally, or at the very least they were a known friend of a friend. I'll have to get them to define what "known personally" means, as I would think that managing 160, let alone 300 friendships would be pretty tough.
The internet has certainly changed how one makes friends - the fancy name is "social networking" but the concepts are the same. As with friends in the flesh, some are pretty selective in who they allow into their lives online; indeed, there is a dark side to online relationships, and caution is prudent. Others are "collectors" trying to amass as many friends as possible on their MySpace or Facebook page to show how popular they are. It's even got to the point where some of the well-heeled have hired assistants to manage their online friends, as in this article from the BBC:
Rest assured that I am the actual me typing this, and I am glad to meet you - thanks for being a friend on this ride!