Internet Relationships or Illusions?

 Real Relationships Online


My intent in this blog is to help readers, as well as myself, get as much value as possible from social media relationships.  What kind of relationships do you really have with Facebook Friends and Twitter followers?

How does a virtual relationship differ from an offline relationship? We may get some clues from an article Mayhill Fowler wrote in the Huffington Post, entitled Taking the Me from Social Media, quoted below:

But the heady sensation of connectedness induced by social media whisks the user quickly past contemplation of the sands upon which these Internet relationships are built.

The speed of the back-and-forth, sometimes near instantaneous, and the collapse of space and time encourage a false intimacy. Indeed there is something about the feeling of disassociation that accompanies an encounter in virtual space that breaks down inhibition. Paradoxically, I am at one and the same time exhilarated by the possibilities inherent in the essential anonymity of the web as I am impelled to share more than I would ever consider doing in person, in real social situations. Virtual space is a version of outer space, where the weightlessness is a freedom from consequences, as well as from the demands of actual relationships.

This illusion is amplified on Twitter, where the relationship is particularly skewed. I know few of my followers on Twitter. They are like imaginary friends. Even as I am tweeting, I am constructing in my mind responses. Occasionally, like a message from a distant satellite, I get a DM (direct message) or retweet in reply. But the interchanges tend to be brief and fragmentary.

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