The internet can be an amazing thing. Almost everytime you turn on your computer, there it is, waiting for you to head out on an adventure of digital discovery. You can meet interesting people and strike up friendships – well you typically don’t meet them IRL (In Real Life), but they can be friendships just the same. You share things you might not share with IRL friends, you discuss things that you might not discuss with IRL friends – or do. You follow and comment on their blog (if they have one), and they follow and comment on yours (if you have one).
In some cases, you learn quite a lot about the person, and in some instances, they don’t share a lot of details such as where they live, what they do for a living, their background, family, etc. You might not share a lot of details either, and that’s alright. We all need our boundaries – that safe area around us that we don’t let just everyone cross. I think boundaries are more respected on the internet in a way. Most don’t pry or pressure. There is sort of an acceptance of the relationship the way it is. At least that is the case for me.
I’m very grateful for my internet friends, and to all of them I now say thank you for your friendship (internet though it is); your sharing, your listening, your comments on my blog.
What makes it hard though is when one of them just disappears seemingly without a trace. You email, you leave comments on their blog; no reply, just the echo of your fingers on the keyboard. This happened this year. An internet friend sent me an email late last year, I replied and didn’t hear back. When I went to their blog, there was a post there (end of the year), so I assumed they were just busy with their move (they relocated too). The post mentioned a slight break, but that they would be back. Then after a couple months you begin to wonder, but life gets in the way, so you forget to email them and when you remember, you get no reply. You visit their blog from time to time, when you think of it, but there, staring at you, is that same old post. Other internet friends – many whom you know – leave comments, and then you all start wondering where they are, and asking, almost pleading with them, to get in touch, or just to put up a short post letting their internet friends know they are OK – or not. No response.
A few of us get together over email and decide to start doing a search to see if we can determine what has happened. We all share what we know. One long-time IRL friend (thankfully) has their real name (where the rest of us had only their internet nickname), so we start searching. We find things that fit the picture that all of us have been able to piece together from the various bits we each could offer, but still no luck. When the open internet fails, we resort to paying for some of the people search sites in hopes we can find our friend. We keep broadening our searches to include even the most remote clues, but still no luck. But then you reach that point where even the completely irrelevant clues have been searched for from 10,000 different directions. Finally, apparently, sadly, the great internet has failed. You have come to a dead end.
We of course still hold out hope. Maybe, somehow, someway, we will figure out exactly what terms to put in that search box to bring news of our friend, or possibly that one of us will say something in an email that will give us a new direction to search, or possibly, miraculously, a new post will appear on the blog explaining the absence and we will jump for joy.
I would be fooling myself if I didn’t consider the possibility that our internet friend has moved on; made her transition to the other side of the veil. Still, it would be nice to know if she has or not. I’ve journeyed on it before to get only the silent treatment from upstairs, which typically means I’m not supposed to know, for whatever reason (sometimes you are simply not supposed to know). You just have to accept these things sometimes.
Where did you go my friend?
Where are you now?