There's a great advert for Tetley tea being shown on TV at the moment. In the ad, a woman logs into a social network website and is about to share about getting a new job with her virtual friends. She then hesitates. The room is suddenly flooded with people she doesn't know who have come to celebrate her good news and even give her hugs and kisses. The woman decides not to post the message on the social network friends but sends an email to her real friends to invite them round for a proper chat where they share her good news over a nice cuppa. The slogan for the advert is "Make time, make Tetley."
I believe the advert demonstrates the limitations of social networking via the Internet.
I find friendships on social network sites is a bit like trying to describe fire to someone who has never experienced it. The only way you can really know how fire feels like is to experience it for real. Then you get to feel the heat of the flames. Similarly, the only way to get to know someone for real is to spend time in the real world with them. Then you get to experience how they really are as opposed to how you imagine they are.
Speaking of which, a friend and I made a fun video where he was interviewing me, which I forwarded to some Internet friends who I've never met in person. One friend thought I looked even younger in real life and I glow in the video; another said I looked better animated than in my photos and she was surprised by the sound of my voice, which she thought was very child like.
It's interesting that these friends and I have communicating for over 8 years and they even read my blogs and seen my photos, and yet my photos and words still can't convey what I'm like in real life. Besides, there are aspects of my life I don't share in my blogs.
Love to all my friends - whether we've met in real life or not.
Related articles: Social Networking the Natural Way; Virtual Friendships