Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strangers! On the Internets!

It used to be that the internet seemed so big and scary to almost everyone. Today it almost seems cozy to me. Friends can be found almost anywhere, and the few jerks I've encountered haven't made it worth it to give up on all of the wonderful things this huge web-world has to offer.

I love the connections that people feel to one another via the 'net. Members of the same forum. Bloggers and readers. Social networkers. Love matches. Isn't it amazing that in a few short years we've moved from "SCARY!" to "be careful, but have fun"?

I used the internet mostly for email and research prior to my pregnancy in 2001. Then I found a group of other moms-to-be who shared my love of self-mockery and silliness, who would pull together for an incredible support system when one of the group required it. Over the last seven years the group has changed a bit, people have come and gone, and we've moved to meeting beyond the internet as often as possible with this many kids and schedules. I used to call these women my fake internet friends. Recently, one of the women in the group decided that wasn't a good enough name. We were sister friends, she said. I like that. Without the internet, I would never have met any of them.

I was thinking about how powerfully we can feel connections even with people we've never met after reading at Dooce that she's pregnant. She has posted about her previous losses, something that I've experienced, too, so when I read that she recently saw her baby moving on the U/S screen, I cried. I'm about to cry now. I can only imagine the joy and relief, and I found myself silently cheering her on the same way I would a close friend. Amazing, isn't it?

The 'net provides me with quite a bit of entertainment. I live in the country, y'all. Nightlife and museums and book clubs? Those things aren't so much available here. But I think it's not the fun factor that keeps me coming back here. It's the other humans behind the screens. It's the unexpected things we find in common, and the ways we connect to one another.


Jennifer said...

A fellow sister friend agrees! I am in awe at how amazing my "fake internet friends" are, and how enriched my life is because of them. Mwah!

mudflapmomma said...

Smooches to you, my sister friend!

Shana said...

Love you!

Rhonda said...

Wonderful post, and so very true!