More: Your Internet Friends Are Real (March 3, 2015)In 1997, a writer and web developer named Paul Ford walked into a sushi restaurant in midtown Manhattan to meet a group of strangers. These were bloggers—a term not yet widely in use—who, along with Ford, formed a tight-knit vanguard of individuals publishing personal writing online. Ford had been building experimental personal websites since 1993, and had made a name for himself online with his lyrical missives on programming esoterica and New York dating mishaps. He’d never met the other bloggers IRL (In Real Life, a phrase that likely had even less currency then than blogger). He was excited to finally get the chance to do so.
Is the divide between online and real-life friendships getting smaller? Are they really equal?
Has Facebook made online friendships more mainstream? And if so, how? Is part of the reason the use of real names instead of nicknames? Something else?