Internet communities and online friends

I recently listened to an interesting episode of the CBC Spark podcast with a talk on online community and the impact of real-life death. It got me to thinking about the online communities and relationships that I find important.

The reasoning is that when one dies, your IRL friends and family may not be aware of your online relationships. In extreme circumstances this would result in your online connections never realizing what had happened to you. The suggestion in the podcast was to make sure that your family members understand what groups should be notified if something happens to you. This sounds obvious; but it’s often the case that the person’s online identity is something that’s only vaguely understood by the family (if at all). Notifying a WoW guild is probably not something they’ll think about without some instructions. All in all, a thought-provoking interview.

While I’m not as concerned with postmortem notification itself, I did like the idea of examining and classifying my online relationships. I do think it’s worthwhile to make more explicit my links to certain groups, organizations, and people. I’ll get to groups later, though; I want to start with individuals. I’ve made some real connections online over the years. These are mentors, muses, and friends, and all of them really matter to me. I like knowing what’s happening with them, and I want them to know what’s going on with me.

I’ve only met a couple of them in person (and even then, only in passing)…yet all of them are important to me. The Internet sure is weird!

  • http://www.near-earth.com Paul Fidalgo

    You honor me, as usual, sir.

  • http://kenzoid.com Ken Kennedy

    *grin* Right back atcha, my friend! And you are particularly interesting…I started with just liking your music, asked to put it on my podcast, and a friendship has developed based on common (non-technical, even!) interests as well as the fact that you’re just a genuinely nice guy. I am proud and lucky to call you a friend.

  • http://www.near-earth.com Paul Fidalgo

    This is the good side of the web — people from disparate locations who can connect on a meaningful/substantive level without ever having met. As I mentioned in post way back (http://near-earth.com/2010/12/19/facebook-probation/), these connections are as “real” as any in-person connections. Indeed, for some, vastly more so. I do a weekly podcast with 3 other guys I’ve never met. I confide in people I never met. I collaborate artistically with people I’ve never met. And that’s pretty much the way I like it.

    Oh, and what happened to your podcast?

  • http://kenzoid.com Ken Kennedy

    I finally got your podcast into my queue just this week…I should be listening in the next few days as it bubbles up to the top of my running list. Looking forward to it!

    As for my own…*sigh*. It’s on its way back, I promise. Life just took a giant redirect over the past year, year and a half, and I’ve been slow to recover from it in the creative sense. But I’m just about there; look for an episode soon! I’m actually planning on trying to use April as a “creative re-kickstart” month! (there’s a draft blogpost about it already). Expect big things! Poke me in the eye with a (virtual) fork if I don’t do them! *grin*

  • http://www.near-earth.com Paul Fidalgo

    Well it’s not *my* podcast, I’m kind of a panelist as it were. It has its ups and downs, but I thought our last show was pretty darn good. I won’t be on this week due to work.