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    • I depends... Ephemeral and superficial connections are all the same in real world as they are online. The biggest difference is that it is easier to jump in and out of the conversations online without much awkwardness as you’d have in real world.

      In a coffee shop it wouldn’t be acceptable to get up and leave in a middle of conversation with another person just to sit down on a next table to strike another conversation. Well, maybe in speed dating it is ok.

      I find value in online conversations by talking to interesting people. They share something fascinating, educational or uplifting and it in certain ways it enriches my life. I would have never met them in real world, but online I can.

    • I’ve made some wonderful friends through boutique online communities. I’ve met a number of them in person, and we formed a book club together that goes strong and has now attracted new people I’m glad to call friends, one of whom I wrote a book with. I’ve found these relationships to be every bit as meaningful as my real life ones, and some of them go back 13 years now.

    • Interesting topic—I’m always thinking about this, I guess...

      I find that online avenues are quite varied. There are times when I use online communications to purge an idea, to share experience, to seek advice, to feel that someone’s “listening,” to get information, to check my inclinations, etc. But quite honestly, online communications have become a very small part of my 100% life because they can be so fickle...

      (This will seem totally unrelated, but I think it’s relevant:) I went with my adult kids to see Spiderman at the theater yesterday. It was a fun movie. However, I couldn’t help marveling at how naive the two main characters are about their own relationship. In the context of the movie. it was a way to appeal to younger viewers who are also trying to figure out relationships, so it was OK I guess. It made me realize how I have grown older and past the stage of naïveté with regard to personal relationships, but more importantly with respect to this conversation, how I’ve grown older and past the stage of naïveté with regard to online “relationships,” too.

      Online “relationships” enrich my life with respect to the ways I noted above—which are all self-centered. This isn’t the way personal relationships are supposed to work. As Apoc mentioned above, when the relationship goes from online to real-life, then things can get interesting...

    • There is a certain level of bluntness only a well meaning friend is willing to offer. Yet, a little too much or it's off timing and it gets on the wrong side. Therein lives the art of establishing friendships, I think.

      I have come to the realization that with years and events lived I now have a predisposed high skepticism and inclination to apply all that knowledge in every scenario.

      My perception too is that this online "correspondence" in public view has a strong bias and creates it's own deviations from our natural way of interacting one on one. I am not saying they're either good or bad, it really all depends. Just thinking and expressing as if always the audience is the entire world adds an entirely new level of consciousness and in my opinion has potential to skew the actual intent. I know some people have literally mental blocks and never post much if anything at all. While others are at the opposite, posting every imaginable detail of their lives, or rather manufacturing them. In fact, every smart person that posts online has to at least ask themselves few times, why so?

    • I agree with you—pretty much every online post (by definition) has to have some element of ego involved. Even this one—my main purpose for posting this comment is to keep the conversation going because I’m interested in this aspect of online “communities.” ,-)

    • My feeling now is that there are few types of reasons for the multitude of ego's manifestations online. Commercial ought to be the first one, it started it all and today is more prevalent than ever, in apparently very subdued ways. Or do I have this backwards? hahahaa.. Then the need for companionship and loneliness cures. Hobby posting for interests or research / passion of topics. Pure mental issues could be one too! The list certainly isn't complete and perhaps even inaccurate, but imho - will never stop, it fascinates me..

    • The thing is, if we lived traditional life a person used to, before Internet, I am curious how did y'all's social interaction life outside work looked. Because mine, back then was interesting perhaps solely due to peculiar environment and interests, such as motorcycles, ham radio to name few. Or maybe because of the kind of person I am? I had allot of peculiar friends whose last names were never important to me, but it was a joy for all of us.

    • It’s hard for me to even remember much about how life was “before the internet” (the www was introduced almost 30 years ago!). But I’m sure I was very busy with my four little kids, as they were all younger than seven. 🤪

    • You had more important, real things to do.. This came up on my listening today, and it never fails to make me think of it's meanings I saw in it then and now. LOL