“Real” Friends 2

September 10, 2012

Around 11 months ago I wrote an entry called “Real” Friends and it really wasn’t that good. I knew what I wanted to write but not really how to write it. It’s time to fix that.

So without further ado…

One of my friends on Twitter had a death in the family recently, and I didn’t really know what to do aside from saying “I’m sorry for your loss” and to get rest. I haven’t met this individual in real life, so do I have a right to “be there” for her? As far as online friends go, we’ve done a lot — at least said a lot, hah — and we’ve been talking for nearly two years. Our relationship has ranged from jokey to supportive to professional. But we get back to the point, we haven’t been in each other’s physical presence. So is it my place to even suggest that I’m a digital shoulder to cry on? I don’t know.

The problem that arises is, yes, I think that I’m allowed to be there for her in times of grief, but I don’t know if she feels the same way. It’s very hard to read people when all you do is read them. I’m extremely progressive in my thoughts of online communication — I think that because we have hundreds of millions of people to pick as our friends, it probably isn’t difficult to find people that you align with better on social networking sites than in person. The geographical restrictions just aren’t there.

I was recently brought onto Unity Bond, a blog that’s just re-starting up in Malaysia. Here I am, a half-British pale-white American, and my editors live in Kuala Lumpur. That’s surreal, isn’t it? I’m 21 years old and even I remember when that wasn’t possible, I imagine that it’s even more unbelievable for my parents! I believe that when I’m older and the next generation is my age, in-person friendships will be a thing of the past. I don’t mean that they won’t exist, just that they’ll be kind of pointless.

Hell, the Japanese even have a kissing machine so that lovers can French kiss over the web. I sincerely doubt that innovation in communicating physically through the Internet will stop there.

We might be approaching TMI territory, but what’s to say that someday there won’t be sex machines? And that sperm won’t be able to be analysed by the guy’s machine, with the data sent over the Internet and recreated with nanobots or something in the girl’s machine? I mean why not, technology does nothing but advance, so I don’t think that we have any authority to say what the future will be like. With that kissing machine as an example, the Japanese are certainly already thinking of similar things.

I think that we might be getting a little bit sidetracked with the whole sex thing, but that’s just an extreme example that is admittedly “out there”. But as far as friendships go, and stimulating being in the room with somebody, we already have video chatting through services like FaceTime and Skype. We can see facial expressions and hear the tone of voices on our computers, be them our phones, iPads, or traditional PCs. What if virtual reality advances in the future and things like physical presence and the feeling of being touched can be simulated?

Maybe I indeed am a bit too progressive in that friends made on Twitter can be considered good pals. I think that even if it’s just through text, there’s nothing preventing anyone from being good friends with one another. As an example, I’m kind of the weirdo Horror geek in my real life social circle, yet on Twitter I have a group of people whom I fit in with. The question is, in 2012, how far does that “fitting in” extend?

I really wish I knew the answer.

Oh yeah, if you don’t already, follow me, @MGLeet on Twitter. It’d be cool to talk to you, not gonna lie. Maybe we can even be friends!

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