|Virtual friend Author William Butler|
As we move along with the evolution of social networking, we continue to make “friends” or “followers” in mostly Facebook and Twitter. The negativity seems endless by the media, how it wastes time, how it perpetuates shallow social unreal interaction, the either illegal, tragic, or large-scale violent consequences when used amongst large populations. But we still use social media, and interact with our virtual friends. Does that matter to us?
As an adult, I think about the real friendships I’ve made through the years, and the ones still lasting today. My close real time circle of friends is quite small; probably a combination of being an introvert, a non-conformist, and a married professional, beholding to the bare truth that a wife’s friends link to the husband’s more than vice-versa. That may not be true in every relationship, and in my marriage I don’t consider it a negative, only a truth. Men marry and continue their lives with families, sports, and talk about old times over beer. Women marry with their lives encompassed with their children, and for the childless married woman, like myself, in the closest friendship there’s not much in common in everyday life.
I’ve written before about how a few wonderful ladies introduced me to social networking. From the beginning, I’m still meeting great people virtually. Of course in virtual friendship, we see whatever the person wants us to see. But that’s part of the deal, taking the good with the bad. As a new author, I’ve found some of my virtual friends to be my biggest cheerleaders in my writing journey, and they give me encouragement during the tough times. I’m happy to do the same for them. Why not? That’s what’s good about technology; maybe we can make someone smile sometimes. In reality, that level of giving is wonderful, so why should it not apply virtually? Sure, there is the negative spin, ugly book reviews, and political arguments, but that’s where we can shut out the virtual part. Virtual enemies wearing a mask of friendship aren’t family bullies we have to endure because our parents force us. We have a choice.
In the big scheme of things, I like my virtual friends. Technology has a double edge, but there’s more good than bad. Like others, of course my real life friends and family take precedence, as they should. To me, that’s another definition entirely; virtual friendships are exactly that…virtual. I’m glad to have them.