I agree with moogle and Mohegan here…
Some of the best support I’ve had has been through the internet for instance.
Internet is just a medium, just like a phone or letters.
To me it doesn’t matter a lot whether or not I conversate with people face to face, or through the internet or any other medium. The way you truly get to know people is through the conversations you have. And words are still words; whether they are spoken or typed.
Sure, the internet makes it easier to create an alter-ego. But if you need an alter-ego to meet people, who are you fooling more? Them? or yourself?
Lies tend to be uncovered eventually anyway… and when they do, it’ll usually make things worse anyway.
What might be true is that there is less ‘social pressure’ to spend time with online friends; mostly because of the distance. If someone lives closeby, they might expect you to spend time with them, which usually means having to go out or something. Whereas with the internet you can just as easily do that while you are half-asleep in your comfy chair at home. Then again, if you regard it as social pressure, there prob is something wrong with the friendship anyway.
Something I can’t understand btw is when people make a distinction between online and ‘IRL’… as if the internet isn’t part of the ‘real life’. The people you meet online are just as real as the ones you meet in the offline life…
Anyway, you don’t always have to keep online friends only online; for example: I first met my fiancee, Siiw, online through ld4all, sealife and chat4all. We grew pretty close together via internet. When we first met face-to-face, there wasn’t really a difference. It already felt comfortable, safe and normal. As if she was a friend I’ve known in the offline life for several years, instead of online.
And the actual relationship was formed several months after that… not face-to-face, but online!
So, it really depends I think on how you (and the persons you meet online of course) look at online friendship and other forms of relationships, and how honest you are of course…