Are Online Connections Real?

Its pretty amazing when you think of how far technology has come. I constantly amaze my kids when I tell them, “When I was your age, and I wanted to connect with my friends, I had to call them on the phone (a LANDLINE with a CORD, no less) or actually see each other face to face! They give each other the side eye, smirk and say, “Ok, Mom”, as they giggle and go back to their phones/laptops/Xboxes. Kids don’t know how easy they have things these days.

That had me thinking. Which was is better? The “old school” way of KNOWING the person you’re talking to, or just connected to them? Are online connections even real? I’ve had it both ways, and I have to say, as much as I get annoyed with technology sometimes, its greatly enhanced my life.

I used to be able to count my friends on my fingers, now they number in the hundreds. I think it’s terrific how I was able to connect with people all over the world and form real, strong friendships. My daughter has friends from all over the world with people who share her obsession of Harry Styles, my son can form Clans as he plays Halo online and helps saved the world from aliens, and my husband has found other people to share his love of doo-wop music. Me? I found my tribe of Post-apocalyptic dystopian story lovers, both in real life, and on TV. More seriously, I have formed many connections with other parents having bullied kids, or kids with mental illness. We have been each other’s shoulders to cry on, our rocks, and our celebration, all while sharing virtual hugs.

Virtual hugs can mean just as much as real ones.

Social media can be a wonderful place, and it can also be a scary place. It can frustrating to find others like you, but it can be done. Yes, I Facebook and Tweet with the best of them,. Lately, I’ve been using a new App, SpokeHub, which is basically real time chatrooms set up in specific topics that are a little easier to use than some other social media channels. I missed real chatrooms, talking in real time with others, and I think I found a way to find that real time connection again.

Of course, you must be careful online, it can be a dangerous place, but use common sense safety measures, and you can find a real community online. Let’s face it, in today’s fast paced world where we are always rushing, its good knowing that there are people and communities out there that we can make connections with whether they are in our town, or a country away.

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