Good news, you guys. It used to be kind of weird if you made friends with someone on the Internet, but now it’s totally normal! It’s totally cool. Not like COOL cool, but cool as in, totally a-okay cool. This is something people do now. People know each other because of the Internet – because of social networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and to some degree, Facebook. And because the fastest track to making Internet friends is through an online community, if you’re also passionate of something and talk about it on the Internet, you’re going to have so many Internet friends.
If you are the type who has the tendency to be an obsessive fan and you spend an absurd amount of time doing Google searches about whatever it is you are a fan of, be it Downton Abbey, an NBA athlete married to a reality television star, or a British Boy Band, you may be a teenage girl. If you are not a teenage girl but you are all those other things, you are just you, and you sound like the type to make Internet friends. It’s okay. I’m one of those people. I was like that as a teenage girl and I’m still like that now.
As a teenage girl, however, my thing was the The X-Files. I was obsessed. I wanted to marry David Duchovny and have his babies. (Okay I still want to marry David Duchovny and have his babies.) In middle and high school my bedroom was covered in X-Files posters, a David Duchovny calendar and various collages I’d made from X-Files features in magazines. When I was the captain of the field hockey team my senior year I named all our plays after X-Files characters (I distinctly remember the “Krycek” and the “Skinner” as being different set-ups for penalty corners). I used to tape record every single episode (this was before TV on DVD, mind you, and I had to actually physically record them all with my VCR. Gross I sound like one of those old people who says things like “when I was your age I had to walk to school through a mile of snow…”). If I ever happened upon a random episode playing on television, I could usually identify the name and season of any episode within thirty seconds. I was a total geek for the show.
While I was unabashed about my adoration for The X-Files, I was pretty tight-lipped about how much time I actually devoted to obsessing over the show, because I was a little embarrassed about it. See, I was one of those fangirls that hung out in AOL chatrooms and talked to other X-Philes (like-minded fans, duh) and obsessively read websites boasting spoilers and theories and the like. I had made friends because of being a fan of the X-Files. I was obsessed with all things Mulder and Scully and after a lot of IM exchanges I became pen pals with another girl who was similarly obsessed. I think she lived in California, which seemed really exotic to me. I remember getting a letter from her, one that included a picture of the X-Files collages in her room, and being simultaneously delighted to find someone else who was as much of a dork as I believed myself to be, and embarrassed that I would call someone I had never even met in person a friend.
You guys! That makes me sad! You should never be embarrassed of who you are friends with or how you became friends! Okay, fine, obviously I was super nerdy and this whole X-Files thing just helped me to find other like-minded nerds I could talk to and not feel embarrassed about it, but now it’s different. This is the norm! Now we can all just be fangirls and we can make friends on the internet and we can marry David Duchovny if we want to! Maybe not that last thing!
Now, thanks to Twitter, Tumblr, and even places like HelloGiggles (sometimes I look at these forums and think especially places like HelloGiggles! Look at all the friends people on this site have made simply from being on this site!), people don’t ever have to feel weird about meeting someone on the Internet and becoming their friend. I certainly don’t feel that way anymore. Because the Internet is a component of daily life, I don’t even bat an eye at the notion of meeting someone online before meeting them in person. I mean, I think that’s almost the entire premise of Twitter for some people.