Recently (thanks to a tweet from Teri Bump), I came across a great post from Amber Nasland, “Is This Real Life? In Defense of Our Virtual Connections.” In it, Nasland argues that
Communications that happen on Twitter or Skype or Facebook or blogs or whatever are every bit as real as a conversation you might have over the phone or email…..Human relationships have many facets. When they’re real, they’re not real because of the things we use to cultivate them. They’re real because the human bond is there, the connection that extends beyond the means. No tool, website, or thingamajig can take that away, and none can replace it entirely. When it happens, that bond between people – either personal or professional – is as real and genuine as the individuals themselves.
I was extremely glad to see someone else making this argument as I’ve also thought this for a while — but I was reminded again last night just how real our Twitter connections are as I was having a late evening conversation with some of my favorite Twitter gals (@JeannetteMarie, @DSchmidtRogers, and @tbump). Deb, Teri, and I were “encouraging” (er, applying peer pressure to) Jeannette to join us in our recent blogging endeavors and the conversation descended into some silliness (including photos of Nancy Reagan exhorting the youth of America to “just say no”). While fun, it ended with this tweet:
Which brings me to my serious point — which is that Amber Nasland is indeed right. I have never met these three women “IRL,” but I nonetheless feel a deep connection with them through our Twitter conversations — and our interaction yesterday helped pull me out of my mild “back-to-work-OMG-the-semester-starts-in-a-week!” funk that I was feeling by the end of the day. If good conversation and cheering up don’t mean real connections, then I don’t know what does. Or as another Twitter friend put it in response to a post I wrote about valuing my communities:
Yes, it is indeed amazing and my life is richer for it. So stop telling me that Twitter and my Twitter friends aren’t “real life,” because they are.