Recently this has been an ongoing thought in my head:
Do online relationships have the same depth as relationships off line? Can they obtain the same meaningful purpose as your friends you see in day-to-day life?
I have had some interesting conversations recently with people on Seesmic and Friendfeed about the friendship dynamics between online and off line relationships. I have only been debating this because of the increased time I have been spending on social media platforms over the past few weeks. I have had the opportunity to ‘meet’ some interesting and extremely intellectual people through feeds at Friendfeed.
The problem that exists, for me, is the overwhelming urge to know more. The desire to get deeper into a persons psyche and actually understand where they are coming from and where they have been. I have had fun debating and sharing in conversations over the communications platforms and yet I am left with this undeniable longing for something more.
The sharing of information and idea generation has always been a staple in the increased support of social media. I started using social media as a way to gain more insight into technology, entrepreneurship, and the overall aspect of viral marketing. What I have found is (while all the information is great) there is a point where a person stops and wants something more from a relationship or an acquaintance.
I have had extreme success in meeting people in my area off line whom I had the first interaction online. The relationship factor grows exponentially when you are sharing both online and off line forms of communication. I am relating more to the people I have met online who do not live in my vicinity.
I know research and data is a prerequisite to have in blog posts pertaining to an opinion. In order to support an idea it is always better to have others opinions to strengthen your own. Unfortunately, I am running off the cuff here and spouting words over a virtual page.
When is the right time to want more from an online relationship? Is there a need for it? I love the information super highway sometimes more than the road outside of my house and that is what bothers me the most.
How do you strengthen online relationships to the point where you can say they are a friend? Where does a follow or a subscription turn into a relationship?
Are we meant to delve deeper? We should be.
I have another for you, and maybe I’m only asking because I have been a geek too long:
How do you know when mere association with someone in meatspace crosses the border to a full-fledged relationship?
Maybe the same rules apply for online friends, or maybe there is some level of physical contact or presence that must occur.
First off, Did you just use the term meatspace? haha.
I do believe there is some level of physical contact and presence that must occur in order to reach a level of friendship.
Maybe there isn’t a level of contact, maybe it is more associated with content. I think words are one of the more powerful friendship building tools.
Instead of sharing information and talking about random.. I like this picture.. I like this post.. It is about sharing about life and sharing about pain. I don’t know..
Good question.. I am going to think on that.
Kyle, interesting questions. I view my online and offline relationships in the same ways. I have casual acquaintances and I have true friends. All of my relationships have deepened organically without any manipulation from either party. The relationship with my friends has deepened over time as we have gotten to know one another, shared in triumphs and challenges and grown closer as a result. My acquaintances are people I enjoy but the relationship is not a “deep” friendship. It really does not matter how you meet, I think all relationships progress naturally.
As with any relationship there are endless opportunities. My mom use to say (high annoying voice starts now)….
There are consequences to everything in life Brady… They can be good or bad…. (stop annoying voice).
So we are talking about the transfer of subscriptions to relationships. In my book there are some requirements to have a
RELATIONSHIP of substance with someone.
Karen mentioned acquaintances…. I’d agree.
The people you talk to online are subscribers to your blog, they like to read your thoughts. You entertain them.
I like to watch Oprah at midnight. That is about all I’d do for her. And I bet that is all she would do for me.
Relationships that have great consequences require something more of you than conversing. I can’t satisfy you with a list or a definition of a relationship.
I wouldn’t look at your online connections as if they are or aren’t relationships. Though you might pay attention to one person or the other depending on your recognition of them, but that will happen naturally.
Subscribers are always relations. A connection of any sort is a relation, we can’t change that.
Relationships capitol R (which I think you are talking about) have more to do with your heart, than your mind.
Social Media has enabled you to begin the bonding process but I don’t think it can always totally fulfill the relationship void.
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The thing about having an online relationship prior to actually meeting is that expectations and mannerisms aren’t held back as much. What I’m trying to say is that people are comfortable looking at a monitor: The other person involved does not physically see them. Each person feels comfortable in their own element. Because of these factors, one is more susceptible to show who they really are personality-wise. This in turn brings anyone who is in a proverbial shell out in the open. If he/she does or says something revealing a bit about themselves, it almost feels natural because of the controlled situation. People who are in similar situations simultaneously (online game, chat room, etc.) can really get to know each other because it’s establishing a relationship of personalities. When the people involved get to a certain level where an actual “real life” meeting is warranted, each is less likely to shy away from it. Since they already know each other so well, when the meeting does occur, it’s often met with increased emotion. The bonding has already occurred: The physical meeting is literally icing on the cake. I have known many people who have met each other in this fashion. Of the ones I know personally, there have been 3 marriages, 1 engagement, and 1 serious relationship. In essence, it is extremely useful to have the ability to establish a relationship in such a fashion.
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