“Would you say you’ve met people you could call your friends online?”

“Of course. I flew out in less that 24 hours to be by the side of a friend whom I consider to be one of the closest I have ever had whom I met online and had only met in person three times before that.”

“Oh, wow. So…but that must be pretty rare right?”

“No, it’s not rare, I daresay every single person who has developed any sort of online community has that one person they’d get to anyway they could if they needed them. I have plenty of friends I’d give or do anything for even though I’ve never met them in person. This is not a unique situation. This is our community.”

Maybe I’m naive. But it seems to me that we all have each others backs. It may be strange to those who don’t live in “our world” (my husband likes to call it my little Internet world) but if a cry for help goes up on the Internet? It gets answered. Sometimes in different degrees. But as far as I can tell?

It always gets answered.

One of my many brilliant readers said this on my post last week about when online communities rally:

People are skeptical of online relationships. But the key word here is ‘community’. Community is “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage .”

Online is our common cultural and historical heritage. Maybe some folks don’t understand why we can derive from folks we have never met…but why do we put so much emphasis on seeing people. If we were all blind would that make us less of a community because we interacted with people we didn’t see? NO! This community is amazing, can be amazing and yet it mirrors our everyday face to face life, in many ways.

In both online and face to face communities there can be viciousness, anger, trollish behavior,apathy, etc. And in both online and face to face communities we find support, love, comfort and understanding.

The only difference is one community is carried out on line….that is the only difference

Word.

Just because I haven’t seen your face doesn’t mean I’m not going to giggle over your child trying to replace you with a Barbie sticker. Or ignore the fact that you’re hurting. Or deny how freakishly in common we are and oh my gosh we have to get together and eat cupcakes and spy on the celebrities in Bryant Park.

Bloggers I know aren’t trying to take over the world and beat everyone else down in the process.

Most of us are honestly just trying to make it a little more cozy and a little better than we found it.

With swag and product reviews for all. (On the side of course. No community survives without food and/or commercialism. At least not one I know of.)

Have you found your Internet warm fuzzies?

Comments

  1. Totally with you on this one! Many friends I’ve met through online communities know my secrets better than those I know IRL.

    Casey Reply:

    @Molly, I’m the same way, most of my neighbors have no idea what really goes on.

  2. You KNOW I have. You are one of those fuzzies ;)

    But seriously. Why else will I have traveled to four different cities by the time this year is done in order to see people?

    It is because I consider them to be true friends.

    Casey Reply:

    @Angella, You’re one of those fuzzies for me too.
    And I’m not talking leg hair.

  3. Some of my very very bestest friends are e-maginary ones! I’ve met a lot of them IRL, too, and I still love them!

    Casey Reply:

    @kris, e-maginary! I love it!

  4. Oh yes! I have found my cozy spot, among a few select people here on the Internetz.

    It is an awesome place and I am so glad to be a part of it. Everyday I wake up and check in on what happened while I was gone, because I am truly interested in how these people are doing. I followed Cora’s story and my heart still breaks for her mother and father. I followed Maddie’s as well through you and again, my heart hurts.

    I love this place. What it can accomplish, how it can help a person who is lonely and stranded at home with only 2 foot tall humans for company.

    Casey Reply:

    @ashley, And when those humans grow another foot and start demanding even more.
    *ahem*

  5. I am still torn over this issue, being an old school type of guy. I get these warm fuzzies just as much as everyone, but I still get this nagging feeling that most of our relationships have not been put to the test as of yet. We are still in that romantic dating time, but have not gotten married.

    Casey Reply:

    @Neil, Marriage is way better than dating anyway. Uh, IMO.

  6. Nope. I’ve never found ANYBODY online that I can connect with in any way or feel like I have ANY sense of community. It’s all hogwash. Hogwash, I say!

    Casey Reply:

    @Avitable, Me neither. Everyone is such jerks.

  7. I found some of my very best girlfriends through an online chat board for the TV show Alias in 2002. Seriously. I first met one of them in person in 2005. There are a couple of women within that group, in particular, that I would move heaven and earth to get to if I needed to. And they’ve done the same for me.

    Anymore, I think it’s just another way to connect, and it’s better, because sometimes the people you need the most live 2000 miles away.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim, Sorry. *hee* I’m having a hard time about the whole “Alias Message Board” thing.
    I think Alias I think red wigs and red spandex suits.
    xoxo
    Whatever works!

    Kim Reply:

    @Casey, Oh, believe me, it is definitely a slight embarrassing history! :) (Maybe not to all, but I sort of blush and mumble when and if I tell people in person.) Half the tmie we just say, “Oh it’s a long story,” and go on, when people ask how we met. I will say that our discussions quickly moved from Alias to life, politics, etc., etc. – which is how the true friendship developed. (We were actually trying to help one of the women survive bedrest for 25 weeks. She did. That was four years ago.) Although we still occasionally talk about the hottness that is Michael Vartan (the real, true reason for women to watch that show…drool).

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim, I so don’t judge. Remember Sea Quest DSV?
    OBSESSED.

  8. I SO want internet warm fuzzies.

    I just moved across the country and don’t know many people. Hard for stay-at-home moms to meet others.

    Not sure where to even start with this online community thing even though I’ve been blogging for a couple years.

    Teach me your ways!

    Casey Reply:

    @Josie, Where do you live? I’ll send you some friends! I have them all over!
    (Honestly, I’m more than happy to help.)

    Josie Reply:

    @Casey, I moved to northwest arkansas. Bentonville–the WalMart HQ! So nice of you to have a webgal’s back.

    Casey Reply:

    @Josie, Just put out a tweet! I know I have a few in AR! @sugarbritches (@sugarbritchesyo?) I know is there!

  9. I had an audible, visceral reaction when I read your tweets about the uterus cleaning not going well. I need to comment more and lurk less. I’m not the only one that suffers for it! Been a BIG FAN of you for a long time. Cheering you on in Gainesville!!

    Casey Reply:

    @Shana, Oh gosh. Yer makin’ me blush.
    Wanna see my uterus? I’LL SHOW IT TO YOU!

    Shana Reply:

    @Casey, yeah, kinda, I do. I think it would be the best way for me to get to know you in the MOST INTIMATE WAY POSSIBLE all the way down here in FL.

    Casey Reply:

    @Shana, Done. Just for you. Plus ovaries and fallopian tubes.
    I’M A GIVER.

    Shana Reply:

    @Casey, where do I go to see all the lady parts? Are you sending them to me?

  10. Debbie in Memphis says:

    Once upon a time, back in 1995 when the internet was young, I opened an account with MSN. In one of the group chat rooms I happened to meet someone else who lived in Tennessee. The funny part was that even tho we were both living in the same state, we lived almost 500 miles away from each other. We’ve been married almost 13 years and have 4 kids.

    Casey Reply:

    @Debbie in Memphis, And I’m sure the entire Internet just heard me say “AWWWWW…”

  11. You always make me feel warm and fuzzy.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kimmie, You too. And full. We eat a lot when we’re together. xo

  12. Raising my hand! I have met very dear friends online. We go to their house, they come here. We go to weddings and grad parties and get together other times, even tho it takes hours to see each other. One lives in Indy, I live in Michigan. My Indy friend took one of my daughter’s Senior Pictures last year. :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Lisa, I want to be friends with your Indy friend! (Do you think she’d like me?!)

  13. It totally is amazing. And I LOVE it!

    Casey Reply:

    @Rachael, I loved it first. Heh.

  14. for sure! I just spent the day at the zoo with some local bloggie friends & our kids, and it was awesome. I love the internet sometimes.

    Casey Reply:

    @Jen, I love how you said SOMETIMES.

    Jen Reply:

    @Casey, ha well… you know ;) Sometimes I want to punch the Internet in the face. But mostly, I want to give it a big hug.

    Casey Reply:

    @Jen, I tried to set fire to it once. Seriously.

  15. I agree totally !! I feel more comfy with many of my online friends, some I’ve met and haven’t, than my RL friends.

    It may be our own little world, but we like each other here !

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim, Isn’t it so true that when you meet someone IRL from online you just ease into a friendship for the most part? There’s no awkward “SOOO, what do you DOOO?”

  16. Amen. I LOVE community of all varieties and yet I have found this very unique, vulnerable, bare in the moment, “real” group of people who are happy when they are happy and lament when lament is necessary in the online community. I find much less pretense and much more genuine encouragement from my online buddies than I do in some of my other relationships.

    By the way, the reporter must have thought he was hearing a broken record. http://is.gd/1vpSu

    Thanks for this uplifting reminder of how blessed I am through community.

    Casey Reply:

    @Cherie, If my genuine encouragement you mean hearty laughter at the idea of you walking through the mall with your boobs blowing in the breeze then YES! I AGREE!
    xo

    Cherie Reply:

    @Casey, Sometimes the ladies just want to breathe and come out to play. I can’t control ‘em. They have minds of their own.

    Casey Reply:

    @Cherie, No man I have ever met would complain about that.

  17. I know more about my online friends than some of my real life friends. And I love it! :-)

    Casey Reply:

    @Midwest Mommy, Heh, it’s funny you say this because I’m gearing up to show the internet MY UTERUS.
    How many of your IRL friends uteri have you seen?

  18. Some of my closest friends are online. When things happen. good or bad, I am laughing or crying right along with them.

    Casey Reply:

    @Domestic Extraordinaire, And when we’re together? We skip the chit chat and go straight to ROCKING.

    Domestic Extraordinaire Reply:

    @Casey, so where are we going to be rocking out in a week and a half-you think that we will find some rockin’ goodness at BlogHer?

  19. It’s pretty amazing what our COMMUNITY is and does for each other. I don’t think you can grasp it, unless you are living it.

    I’ve become close to so many through the Internet and I consider them a friend just as I would the friends that I see IRL most days.

    We are a close community and I’m thankful for it!!!

    XOXO

    Casey Reply:

    @AmazingGreis, It’s amazing how much smaller the country is when you know people who are thrown all over it in every little corner.

  20. word. to you….mama.

    Casey Reply:

    @brit, word.

  21. Many of my closest friends are internet friends. Message boards, blogs, and now Facebook have helped me meet new friends, connect with old friends, and even find friends that I consider soul mates.

    The internet can be a scary place. But I have mostly found it to be a supportive and loving community and have been in awe of all that can be done through these networks.

    Casey Reply:

    @Eternal Lizdom, Much like shopping for jeans. It can be scary, but when you find the right ones? The angels sing.

  22. yes.
    yes.
    yes.

    I don’t really need to say more than that. just YES.

    Casey Reply:

    @ali, Uh huh. I know.

  23. THANK YOU, yes. A few weeks ago I had to listen to a sermon at church about how we all need to get offline and be in each other’s presence because that was real and the internet is not…this was coming from someone who didn’t even bother responding in any way when I emailed that I would miss a meeting because a good friend had committed suicide. When I said that online, I got about 100 messages of condolence…

    Casey Reply:

    @Suebob, I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. Girls at church avoid me like the infertile plague where as online I can barely breathe most days from all of the internet hugs.
    xo
    How are you doing by the way? I’ve thought a lot about you.

  24. Oh yes, indeed. In my little corner of the Internet, we actually raised enough money to make a baby for one of my bestest Internet friends (creatingmotherhood.com). I always think of his existence as clear evidence that this online friend thing is super real and super powerful.

    This topic is exactly what we are talking about at our panel at BlogHer – “Have You Found Your Mommyblogging Tribe?”

    Casey Reply:

    @bri, I’ve never heard of the internet making a baby! I LOVE IT!

  25. My blog AND real life friend Lisa and I spend all day on chat sometimes, and have called each other at our lowest moments for moral support. We live in neighboring states, and once I packed up Kaitlyn and drove 3.5 hours to Lisa’s on a whim on a Saturday afternoon.

    I also have many blog friends that I would do anything in my power to help if they needed me. And I find that when we see each other at events, it’s often like we are together every day in real life, you know? Like we are picking up right where we left off.

    Casey Reply:

    @Elizabeth, My friend’s mom always called these “bookmark friendships” You can start right where you left off no matter how long it’s been.

  26. In 2008 I made a resolution to make more deep, abiding friendships (and I DON’T make resolutions. ever.). In retrospect, while I rarely interact with the bloggers I follow (except, ahem, YOU), I realize that I found support from other mothers…on the internet. And like all the previous commenters, I have felt the whole spectrum of emotions for those whom I follow. I just have to say thanks.

    Casey Reply:

    @Angie, I see your thanks and raise you a thank you very much and a you’re welcome.

  27. Absolutely agree. I LOVE my online relationships, have met many of my online friends in real life. Truthfully, they are some of my closest friends and I’d go to their side immediately if they needed me too :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Bethany, It’s so nice to have friends that don’t think your emotional attachment to your laptop is slightly batty.

  28. even though we only live a few miles from each other, without the great abyss of the internet – I wouldn’t have you.

    hugs.
    kisses.

    Casey Reply:

    @DesignHER Momma, I wouldn’t trade you for ANYTHING.
    EVER.

  29. I love you. I am eternally grateful for the internet because if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have you.

    *hugs*

    Casey Reply:

    @sam {temptingmama}, *gag* iz chokin’ on teh warm fuzzeezz!

  30. I met my husband through the Internet. First through Yahoo personals and then we conversed often in Yahoo chat even after we started dating. It provided a good way for him to open up and be vocal without having to endure in person as he is really shy. So he’s not a blog friend, but another miraculous relationship borne of Internet times.

    Casey Reply:

    @Halala Mama, He’s a blog friend with benefits. Heh.
    I met my husband at the mall. How 1989 is THAT?

    Halala Mama Reply:

    @Casey, It depends – how big was your hair and was he wearing parachute pants?

  31. You should know that I have undoubtedly found mine.

  32. One of my closest friends is someone I met through blogging. And I don’t know how I’d be surviving this life transition without her.

    Those people who read my small blog, by and large, are among the people I trust most in the world. They laugh with/at me. They cry with me and they accept me no matter what.

    I only wish that those kinds of communities were more readily available in real life.

    Maybe I just need to convince more people to blog? Has someone taken www. 666 .com? Because I think my MIL would find it quite cozy there…

  33. Word.

  34. I love my internet friends…Like @Molly, some of them know more about me, my hopes and fears than my friends IRL

  35. Oh I love my internet peeps! One I actually got to meet in person and now we’re such good friends she helped us MOVE. And another I call my Internet BFF and we’ve never met. But yes, I’d hop on a plane in two seconds if something happened. I finally get to meet her at BlogHer and I can’t even contain my excitement!

  36. my husband understands this, but no one else does. they all think i’m obsessed with the internet. blogging came at a time when i was feeling pretty lonely as a stay-at-home mom. i’ve made friends & connections here that have helped me out. and now that i’ve moved across country, those friendships are still there when the others i had IRL may fade away.

  37. Yep, I found my “internet fuzzies”: my husband! We met via blogging, became best friends, realized that we couldn’t like anyone more than we loved each other, dated, then married. That’s part of the reason I have no problem realizing how internet relationships can evolve into deeper friendships, but I’ve also have several platonic friendships solely online that have become closer than some I’ve had in person. It’s amazing when you realize how much you have in common with someone many miles and states and sometimes countries away, isn’t it?

    jess

  38. A great friend of mine who I met online and have only seen face to face a handful of times puts it very well “Just because I don’t know how your eyes look when you laugh or how your mouth looks when you cry does not mean I don’t know who you are. In a way we cut through the superficial quicker online than we do with people we meet in the real world.”

    Here is to teh internets :D

  39. Indytina says:

    I have the honor of belonging to an amazing community of women, some of whom I’ve “known” online since 1998. We all had the misfortune of suffering a pregnancy loss and came together in a community on ParentsPlace (now part of iVillage, but we aren’t). We have been together through subsequent pregnancies, births, other losses, divorce, hurricanes, happiness…life. We laugh together and cry together. I have gotten to meet a large number of these ladies (I used to travel a lot for work and managed to work in meet-ups in a lot of the locales), but even the ladies I haven’t met I consider to be my friends. Most of them know more about me than my IRL friends. And that’s…okay. It keeps my soul fed. And I’m glad for it.