I remember when I was a child, if our friends weren’t in, that was that, you couldn’t text, whatsapp or DM them, you had to wait for them to call you back, now online friendships mean that you’re never out of touch wherever you are in the World.
I remember, after the very sad news of David Bowie’s untimely death, (and Alan Rickman, all in one week, double sob!), there were lots of things posted about him, and one video that I saw really struck a chord with me. You can see it here.
In it, he is talking about the internet, at the time just a new thing, a recent discovery. In the video, he talks about the way the internet will revolutionise the world. Jeremy Paxman is obviously not convinced but David could see the potential of it even when it was just a germ of an idea.
I personally credit the internet with something wonderful. I have lots of friends that I’ve never even met. You wouldn’t have thought it possible twenty years ago, the idea would have been mad, but it’s true. I joined a facebook group that stemmed from baby expert when I was pregnant with my first. That was six years ago now. We shared every step of the journey with each other, the bump photos, the fears, the gross bits, we cried together, we laughed, we shared our massive frustrations when a few of us went massively overdue, (you know who you are ladies, my gosh those 14 days were long!!!), and we celebrated when each new bundle arrived safely.
In those early days, weeks, months, there were a lot of early hours; ‘anyone online?’ messages and just seeing a friendly face pop up could make the night time blues better. We swapped tips, sympathised, recommended brands, at one point, almost all our babies were sporting the same star wraps and then the same dribble bibs. We even managed to meet a few times, never all of us but all the same, photos were shared and we all felt more connected.
As time went on, I’ve had less and less time to keep in such close contact, but there is still the very strong feeling that we all care about each other. Pleased to see updates that everyone is doing well, and when someone isn’t, there is an outpouring of support, even flowers and cookies being arranged at times of great need. (That still makes me smile thinking about how lovely it was to receive ladies.xx) What started as a chat forum has grown into something so much more and all through the power of the internet. We can see pictures of first days at school, see videos of one another’s children, hear their accent. Our younger ones are often wearing clothing from others in the group thanks to the off shoot clothes swap group.
When my son was born, I joined another group and although I had even less time to devote to it, I still feel a part of a friendship circle that is really special to me. I share these women’s joys and pains and it is so wonderful to have that. Without the internet, I’d have felt very isolated as a mother. There are no other ways for so many at exactly the same stage to connect. I find even if you have a baby just a year after someone else, you can be at such different stages so quickly that it is very hard to even remember things about what is really such a short while ago.
Now in my new field as a blogger, I am meeting so many more wonderful people and discovering a whole new commmunity where chats on twitter move over to facebook friendships and whatsapp conversations. Even get togethers, all though some people inconsiderately live too far away in places like Australia! 😉 I talk to my blogging friends every day, we chat work, pass jobs, share ideas for instagram and facebook and totally get it if someone says that they lost a blog post or deleted a photo by accident!
While it will never be a replacement for friendships when you can see, touch, hug someone, they are no less real friendships, and even more excitingly, lots of my online relationships have developed into meet ups in the real world and I hope this continues for many years to come. If you are looking to take your online friendships offline and need somewhere to meet up, Party Houses have large houses to rent in the UK sleeping up to 40, so no matter the size of your group, you can still get together and get those hugs! There are so many wonderful people out there and the internet gives you an ability to access them in a way you never would have been able to before.
Have you discovered the wonder of the internet friendship? I’d love to hear your stories.
This is a sponsored post.