Not too long ago, Alexandria Durrell (AKA @Clippo) wrote an article for the “amother world” website about whether or not online friends could be considered “real” friends. She had some good arguments for the “realness” of friendships created on the internet.
But still, there are a lot of people who think that online friendships are somehow “less than.” A lot of people just don’t get it. They picture people living in basements, huddled before a computer screen, pretending to be fairies or goblins or something, and talking to other people pretending to be characters.
The truth is, there may be people like that, but the majority of people I’ve met, or “met” through the internet are just that, “people”; people who have jobs, kids, go on vacations, go to the grocery store, and probably even pick their noses once in a while.
Since joining Twitter in 2009 I’ve developed a lot of online friendships: other parents, my Blockheads, Jordan Knight (oh, wait… maybe that’s more of a one-sided friendship…) But a long time before Twitter, or even Facebook, there were the online message boards.
There is a group of women – the majority of whom I have not met in-person, although I have met several of them – with whom I’ve been friends for over 7.5 years now. We have been through more together than a lot of friends who only know each other “IRL” could even imagine. I don’t refer to them as “my online friends”; I refer to them as “my friends.”
When I didn’t win Alex’s contest this week, I was pretty bummed. It’s been a ROUGH year, and it would’ve been a great thing for me to go, have some fun, and learn about better ways to market my books at the same time. But, being the person I am, I tried to get over my disappointment and move on.
My friends, however, decided that wasn’t good enough.
Yesterday afternoon I got a text from one of my friends, asking me to confirm my address and phone number for her contacts. “Blissfully” unaware, I did just that, and didn’t think any more of it.
And then I sat down to check my email that night, and saw: “Print Registration for Blissdom Canada ’12” in my inbox. Confused, I opened the email, only to see that the person I had been texting with that very afternoon had, in fact, bought me a ticket to Blissdom. Despite being completely and utterly stunned, I knew right away what had happened: that very same group of friends had banded together to buy me that ticket. They knew – they KNEW – what a hard time I’ve had in recent months (or years, truthfully) – and they wanted to do something to make me smile.
In the end, I actually cried, but I do that when I’m happy and grateful, so they shouldn’t take it personally.
So here’s the thing: I may not have been the winner of Alex’s contest, but in the end, I’m a winner because of the amazing people in my life.
I’m a very lucky woman.