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New friends online: Adapting to the “new normal” April 27, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, friends, personal life, random thoughts, social networking, Vancouver.

In previous posts, I had discussed my ideas on the notion of “the new normal” as defined by Dr. Michael Geist and how I was adapting to living this ‘new normal’. The more I think about it, the more I am able to grasp and assimilate the concept.

I’ve been recently hanging out with much more with new people whom I have met through my blog, and it is through contact in real life that we have had a chance to enjoy each other’s company, grow closer and develop a stronger friendship bond. In an interesting twist of fate, the discussions at these social events have involved the topic of how we have met, and my blogosphere friends aren’t ever reluctant to answer directly “online”. I have to confess that the whole idea did make me uneasy a few years ago. And I have now come to realize that I had no reason for that. Here’s why…

One of my closest friends, whom actually I *did* meet online, was asking me whether I had stigmatized the idea of meeting people online. Years ago, it seemed that if people wanted to meet other people (be it for romantic relationship, friendship or whatever purpose), they had to go to bars, join sports teams, take a class, etc. I met many of my closest friends through school or through friends of friends. That seemed to be “the normal” way of meeting people.

With the emergence of social media and new forms of communication (particularly the explosion of Internet-based dating services, Facebook, MySpace, etc.), people have gained access to numerous avenues to meet new people and make either friends, acquaintances, teammates or potential romantic relationships. This seems to be the new normal: meeting people online. Some local bloggers that I know have met each other through their blogs and ended up either married or on the way to get married. Some people have met their significant others through online dating services, and they are super happy. To the eyes of some people, this may be a bit weird. But maybe, and this is one of the insights I recently gained, maybe *this* is the new normal.

While having dinner tonight at the Red Sea Cafe, we seemed to agree on the idea that creating new meaningful, real-life relationships through initial online contact may be the way in which we are now engaging with each other. I am, however, not sure why I was so surprised about this realization, considering that my academic networks have actually arisen as a result of this! I have never been one to be shy about e-mailing a professor and say “hey, you know, my name is Raul and I’m studying this and that and the other thing, and I love your research and I think it’s so cool and can I drop by Simon Fraser and visit you and chat with you … oh yes thank you will see you next week”.

So, just wanted to share with the blogosphere and my readers the fact that, while I have been doing this for SO long, it has only recently dawned on me that I was one of the people who was meeting other people online. Tonight was one of those “uh huh!” or “Eureka!” moments, that has allowed me to realize how much I love blogging as part of my “new normal”: it gives me a chance to reach people who like my ideas or my writing and whose writing and ideas I like, and to explore the possibilities of creating friendships. These friendships are just as normal as those that have arisen from playing volleyball with local teams, teaching salsa dancing or participating in certain evening courses. *This* new normal is exciting, and I like it!



1. Smelly Danielly - April 28, 2008

I totally agree with you! I love blogging because of all the people you get to meet and even after years of blogging and thinking you’ve met all the bloggers you still meet new people! It was great meeting YOU Saturday night!!!

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