Are we closer to our online ‘virtual’ friends as we are to our real friends?

Tariq Tahir wrote an interesting article in the Metro newspaper on Monday called “Our ‘virtual’ friends are just as close as our real ones,” which made me think, he has a point. Over the past 6 months I’ve been using my Twitter as a means to communicate far more than my Facebook. My Facebook is personal and I do use it to communicate with my good ol’ buddies from school/travels/socialising etc but Twitter (although used professionally and personally) has put me in touch with people I never would’ve been able to speak to before.

On a daily basis I have conversations with some awesome people about everything from work, social media, the news, interesting (and sometimes random) topics and just stuff. Yes stuff. Its been reported that the average person has 121 online friends, twice as many as their ‘real-life’ friends. Also that 4 in 5 admit to never actually meeting any of their online friends, they said they felt just as fondly and strongly about them as their ‘physical’ mates. So is it true? Is the world of the internet really turning our followers into friends as good as our real ones?

It’s a topic some may agree on and others won’t. A lot of my friends just use Facebook and are chuffed as pie doing so, with no interest of using any other social mediums at all. Others have given up on Facebook altogether and just use Twitter. Or like me use Facebook occassionally (couple a times a day is occassionally to me) and use Twitter at all moments of the day. Relationships between people are changing drastically because of these available sites online. More and more people are communicating on a daily basis with people online than they are face-to-face. Its been reported that a 3rd of Britons now spend at least 2 hours a day just to keep up with their online mates. I’ll be honest my time spent online goes beyond 2 hours. I wake up in the morning and look at my Twitter first before acknowledging anything else (including people) to see who’s tweeted or included me in their conversation or sent me a DM. I’ll check this right up to about the minute I go to bed. Sad? Maybe. But I think I’m cool. So whatever. I probably spend on average more than 2 hours and in the region of 4 to maybe 5 hours on Twitter even if I’m @ work or at home. Whichever I’m always checking it and always chatting to someone about something. So I probably do spend more time speaking to my ‘virtual’ friends than I do my real ones but I’ve made some brilliant friends who thanks to Twitter I’ve since met some at events, networking/social-meet ups and socialising. To be honest I consider most of them as good friends even if I don’t see them much. The relationships and friendships I’ve built with them are great and I’m thankful to Twitter for connecting me with them. My Facebook friends new and old are still my good friends and still keep in touch with all of them all the time, whether they still live in the country or abroad. Virtual or not my friends are my friends and I’m chuffed as pie to know them all.

Do you find your ‘virtual’ friends are as close as your real friends?

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