Photo credit: Flickr/Cultural Savage
In a recent conversation with friends, I used the term "blogosphere"...and I got some strange looks. I quickly realized that not everyone knows about this "secret world" that many of us live in. I assured them, jokingly, that it was indeed a real word because Wikipedia says so. It's pretty common for people to associate Internet friendships with creepy/stalker-type situations...and while that can happen, the opposite is true most of the time. And yes, you can get TOO wrapped up in the online "alternative reality" and forget that there is a real life to be lived. But as long as you have balance in your life, blogs are such a great way to meet new people.
As we have traveled across the U.S...every single family/person we have met/stayed with has been one we first met in the blogosphere. We may have known about them in print...or maybe even what they looked like by photo, but we had never met them face to face. It's always an interesting first encounter. The wonderful thing is...we have been so delighted 100% of the time with these new friends. And that's the magical thing about blogging and the Internet in general. It has the amazing power to cut through all barriers. Race, religion, income levels...all of those things fall away as you look through the screen. You can find people with similar interests with the click of a mouse. You don't need to pretend to be anyone you're not (although some people do)...and there is no need for small talk. You just cut to the good stuff. Our tour is living proof that Internet friendships are REAL friendships!
I have been deeply changed by my online experiences. I have been inspired. I have been brought to tears. I have grown closer to Jesus. I have made life changes. I have new friends for life. I get excited to see what is happening their lives...what types of things they are learning from the Lord, what they did for their birthday...what their kids are up to. Sometimes it's much more sobering...like how their chemotherapy is going. But at all times, I know I can go to my "secret world" and find encouragement and laughter.
And now...I want to ask YOU:
"How have you been changed by your online friendships?"