The Scary Thing About Internet Friends

It’s scary to think that, realistically speaking, I wouldn’t show up to most of your funerals.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of my “Internet friends.” By that, I mean that we “met” online, most likely through Twitter, YouTube, or maybe even Instagram (yes, I met someone IRL who first found out about me through Instagram.) All of our interactions have probably been through a computer screen, and if I was lucky, I had an opportunity to meet you in the flesh and be relieved that you, in fact, were a real person.

The thing about the Internet and this rise in social media is that it makes it so easy to meet people that you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. Before the Internet was a thing, a circle of friends probably consisted of people who grew up in the same area, or went to the same college and still kept in touch via snail mail and phone. Nowadays, people can become friends with someone they never met (and perhaps even will never meet) in real life. So long as the Internet is running, people can keep in touch for years without ever seeing each other in person.

While this is a great thing, it also worries me a bit. Just as easily as Internet friends can come into my life, it’s just as easy for them to leave. Back when I was embarrassingly obsessed with One Direction, I used to talk regularly with a fellow fan on Twitter about what the boy band was up to next. This continued on for at least a year, then one day, she was gone. Not even a goodbye, and her account suddenly vanished. The weird thing is, I didn’t know what ever happened to her to make her leave Twitter, and I probably never will find out.

And the above example was for someone who I only connected with because of One Direction. I have many friends online who I’ve connected with over many things, making our Internet friendship much more difficult to forget about. Then there are the people I’ve actually met in real life, whether it was through VidCon, Playlist Live, or a Kingdom Hearts launch event. I’ve been presented with many opportunities in my life to meet people for all sorts of reasons, and it’s pretty cool to think that there are people all over the world who know who I am.

This is also what scares me if any of my Internet friends were to all of a sudden disappear. Not just from the Internet, but from life as well. We all have our wake up calls at different points in life, the ones that remind you that anybody could be taken away from you at any moment. I’ve had a couple of those calls in the past few weeks, and it’s weird to think that if something bad were to happen to any of my Internet friends, there’s not much I could do to be there for them. Not because of me not wanting to be there, but because the people closest to said friends probably wouldn’t even know I existed. Think about it, how many of your Internet friends do you regularly talk about to your family and other loved ones you see often? Would your family know to contact someone you met on Twitter, or connected with on YouTube in case something bad happened to you? Probably not.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, it’s just a strange thought I had and now has stuck with me for the night.

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