19 January 2007

Virtual friendships

John Smulo has recently commented in his blog on "virtual friendships" -- people one "meets" electronically, but does not meet in the flesh. I plead guilty to referring to John Smulo as "my friend" even though I've only known him electronically, and haven't known him long.

Today I was looking through some of my old hardcopy journals, and was moved to pray for an old friend I haven't seen for over 20 years. Then I decided to do a web search for him, and found an e-mail address, and sent him a message. Maybe he won't want to be in touch, but I think it works both ways. One can keep in touch with people electronically even though they have moved away physically. An d it works the other way too -- I've met people electronically, and later met them in the flesh, and that has enriched our electronic conversation.

In any given physical neighbourhood, it is sometimes hard to find people with whom one shares common interests, and electronic communication makes it possible, at least theoretically, to communicate with such people unhampered by geography.

It often doesn't work l;ike that, though. People one really wants to discuss ideas with say that they "Don't have time for e-mail". Old friends move away and don't really want to keep in touch, perhaps they've made new friends in their new place. So electronic friendship s come and go, just like ones in the flesh. In the mean time, however, I think one learns something from all of them.


John Smulo said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Steve. One of the blessings for me this year as I've got more involved in the blogosphere is that I've connected with a lot of people such as yourself who either think on similar lines with some things, or challenge my thoughts on other things.

I have found that it's far easier to meet a wide variety of people that I connect with online than it often is in person. This added dimension to my life has been very enjoyable.

Steve Hayes said...

Thanks for the kind words, John.

One of the things that used to be useful about Blogger (but no longer seems to work) is that one used to be able to click on the "interests" in someone's profile, and fins people interested in the same topics -- like "missiology" for example.


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