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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Online relationships undeserving of taboo

As far as the Internet goes, I’d say I’m a more-than-average user. On my iPhone, you can catch me checking all of my social media, uploading pictures, downloading music and iMessaging. On my computer, you can catch me doing all of these things simultaneously, while also doing them on my phone. Social media has launched, landed and taken over our society, and I have to say that I’m a big fan.
While I understand being “plugged in” all the time is obnoxious and scary for some, I also know thousands of great connections have been made online. From experience, I can say online friendships are worth a try. If I told my mother 10 years ago that I had met my best friend on a blogging website, she would have warned me that “she” was actually a 64-year-old “he” who wanted to tempt me with free candy and take me away. She also probably would have asked me why I was blogging at eight years old, but that’s another topic for another day.
Thankfully, meeting people online has not only become more convenient, but it’s also a lot less taboo than it was a decade ago. Before we could be connected in a thousand different ways to a person, we had no idea who was really on the other end of the Wi-Fi (or the hardwire, depending how far back you really want to take this one). Now I consider it a daily event to talk to people I’ve met on the Internet, some of whom I’ve never actually met in person.
I know for some people this whole concept is still really shocking, but as the saying goes, everything gets better after the first time. At some point, you get used to the concept and just accept that sometimes the people who understand you best aren’t always your next-door neighbors. There’s always a site that solidifies this fact for people and if you haven’t found it yet, chances are you’re a sociable person who enjoys spending time with others instead of in bed at 3 a.m. on a Friday night.
For me, and I’m sure for at least a handful of others, it was Tumblr. To anyone who lives under a rock, Tumblr is a blogging website that takes over your life (Note: the sarcasm isn’t as heavy as it may seem). Much like in our everyday lives, there are two kinds of users—passive and active.
Passive bloggers tend to use Tumblr as another way to procrastinate; they reblog pictures of pretty sunsets or maybe a nice poem and a cup of tea every other week when they’re avoiding that economics homework deadline. This is a serious over exaggeration, but my focus isn’t on these people. Then there are people like me, the active bloggers. Tumblr is a community where I have met my closest group of friends, some of whom live where I do, and some of whom live across the world.
The first time I made a friend on the Internet, I was terrified. I didn’t want to tell anybody because I didn’t want them to assume I was talking to the previously mentioned 64-year-old man with the Snickers. I didn’t have the courage to tell them I knew it wasn’t this unnamed predator because I had spent seven hours on Skype, video chatting with a complete stranger.
That friendship turned out to be one of the greatest I’ve ever had and I still speak to that friend very often. From there, I took charge and made bonds. I messaged people who seemed interesting and had the same ideas I did. I’ve met people across the country and the world because of Tumblr, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of them in person too. I speak to my Internet friends on a daily basis, probably more than I speak to my mom.
The concept of meeting on the Internet is so different from meeting in person. On the Internet, you can be anybody you want. Hiding behind a screen, even with Skype, is a strange experience, but one that can be so worthwhile. People meet online every single day, and it’s so easy to become one of them. I think it’s so much easier to talk to people over the Internet because you can express yourself however you want. And no, that’s not me giving permission to anybody to be somebody they aren’t (this isn’t Catfish, kids).
Everybody should make an online friend at some point, if only to tell somebody yes, you have a friend in Australia and yes, she likes cats. It can be scary, but you never know who you could befriend that could change your life in a positive way. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll meet a person who turns your world right-side up. Maybe you’ll marry them. How can you know if you never try?
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