digital life

I’ve been thinking about this post all month. I created a draft and threw a couple of links in here. But writing about digital relationships isn’t about analysis for me. It’s about my life.

The first time I visited an internet friend was also the first time I flew. It was easy to answer the customs agent’s first question; I was going to visit friends.

“How did you meet?”

This was 2008. Twitter had not yet become what it would be. I was mostly on Tumblr at that time, but the friends I was visiting, I had met on Liejournal. But how to explain fandom to this man?

“We met through friends.”

College was another reliable explanation. Now, I tell them we met on the internet. Now, everyone knows what that means.

This week, a tweet on Tumblr (there’s another digital relationship worth a post: the cross-pollination of platforms) claimed “no online friend stays more than three months.” Three months?!? My oldest internet friends are from The West Wing fandom.

(I was in a Rob Lowe fandom then; I’m in a Rob Lowe fandom now. The world was ever thus.)

That tweet on Tumblr has twenty thousand notes. People shouting out their three year, ten year, 25 year internet friends. We met on message boards, at cons, in video games. We’re living together; we got married; we go on vacation together. Last year, I stayed in the guest room of my oldest internet friend.

But my circle isn’t just those in the group chat. I see you in Tumblr notes, IG reactions, Slack threads, email replies. We send gifs and memes and links because I know you’ll get it. It’s a nod and a wave in the form of emoji.

I wish you were closer. But I’m glad that we’re here.

This post is part of the IndieWeb carnival. February’s theme is Digital Relationships.

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