I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Last week, we experienced a tragedy.
I have several friends that I made on iVillage in the early days - 1997ish.
I have made friendships from people at IV.
Throughout the years I've made internet friendships that lasted and those that didn't. Some went on for two or three years and progressed to letters, phone calls and gifts in the mail. I have one friend who I've known since 1997. Unfortunately when he retired he kind of went off the radar but that's a different story lol. I see no reason why these friendships should be considered less than real, especially if you're in regular contact but obviously you aren't seeing each other and so you aren't creating shared experiences and that's where it really differs from "real life" friends. One thing I like about internet friendships is that you "meet" people of all different ages. My oldest friend online is 64 and my youngest is 19. I'm 32. It seems like age gaps shrink when you're just talking and not hanging out.
Yes, I've made some friends online, at different boards here at iVillage. There are 3 that I have met IRL, and even though I don't currently have much comminication with 2 of them I think that we are still friends. (they are no longer on the boards and I'm pretty bad about writing emails). Two of them I've known for 10+ years. There are some others with whom I've had email contact outside of the boards but most of those fizzled. Fortunately I've never had a bad experience.
I've met a few friends from people I met online...however, none have turned into longtime friendships.
I have made a ton of friends online, and a large number of them have lasted many years.