No I’m not talking about that ghastly American ‘comedy’ thing.
I was Idly thinking this morning about friendship, and what exactly is a friend.
As a blogger, I have received hate mail, threats and mails from nut cases. [Yes. Seriously!!]. The threats go for legal advice, but the rest are binned. I mention that, because one of the nut-case mails once suggested that the only reason I was blogging was because I was a sad person who had to desperately trawl the Interweb looking for ‘virtual friends’. Or words to that effect.
I have a lot of friends that have nothing whatsoever to do with blogging or web sites, but that’s beside the point.
What is a ‘virtual friend’?
I suppose if I started playing computer games, and fell madly in love with one of the characters in the game, then that would be a ‘virtual friendship’. That would be sad.
I have made a lot of friends through this site. Real friends.
Up to last March, I had only met a handful in the flesh, as it were. Then, of course the Blog Awards came along and suddenly the names had faces and voices. That was a wonderful experience. But strangely, I have never met some of my closest ‘virtual friends’.
To me, a friend is someone I can be at ease with. Someone who I can go to for advice, or a chat or a laugh. Does it make any difference if I have never physically shaken them by the hand? In this age of Video-Skype, does it make a difference if you can’t smell their BO? Frankly, I would rather spend an hour video-conferencing with a friend, than have them sitting in my living room feeling awkward simply because they had been invited. Of course, another advantage of chatting on the Interweb is that we are all at home, in familiar surroundings, and are therefore much more likely to be ourselves.
I have been very lucky. I started this blogging thing for no particular reason. I wasn’t looking for anything.
What I have found is a whole new world.
Some of it is virtual, if you want to use that word, but most of it is real.
Apart from the friendship thing, I have had some great experiences. I have had television crews in my living room. I have done live interviews on radio. I have had articles printed in magazines and newspapers. Only last week, I had a mail from the Weston & Somerset Mercury, wanting to publish some of my photographs. And of course there is the book writing. I can’t overlook that.
These are all experiences I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t started this site.
What brought all this introspection on?
Last night, I sat in my cosy armchair and had a great laugh, chatting to friends in America. Two I have never met. One I met a week or two ago [and got him drunk!]. Did it matter that we were separated by an ocean? Did it matter that I had only shaken hands with one of them? They know me a lot better than some of the people I would meet around the village.
Quite frankly, I would prefer their company.