In the past 4 months, I have lost 3 online friends, Dee, Marie and Peggy. Two were from the Beatles and the other with soap operas (although, one of the Beatles fans was also a soap fan, but I associate her more with the Beatles). All three were rather expected with warning signs, yet after 'knowing' them for a number of years I will miss them.
Now, some people I know personally would scuff at the idea of being friends with someone I never met personally. In a way, I can understand the worry part- there could always be someone on the other side of the computer who is a complete opposite of what they say. It could be a serial killer or pedophile. I like to surf in message boards of things I like so I can talk to people, know their point of view and see things that make sense or answer a question.
With me, after talking to the same people over and over consistently, trust starts to build and find oneself to be opening up. A message board or a chat room starts to feel like a family-vibe, sending a lengthy personal message or email. You start following on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, MySpace, Facebook where you reveal more of who you are as a person. Mostly it's interest or hobbies. Then it will grow to sending Christmas cards and talking over the phone. And maybe a face to face meeting. You then realize that when out shopping, you will see something that would remind you of your online friend, maybe get it as a gift. Real friendships form.
When certain people I know personally complains that I am not social- yet I believe I am, just in this modern technology way. Different generation? Perhaps. Yet I have encountered many age groups. No matter what though, it's nice to know I have friends around the world. It is a good source of information to learn. Like an international recipe I would see on T.V. and would ask if it's indeed popular or if I am planning to be in their neck of the woods, where to go? It is also a great feeling to know that you aren't alone when dealing with a latest turmoil drama in life. I have also come to notice that my online friends like and reacted to my posts more than my own family members.
I think this article sums up my thoughts even more, sharing my point of view.