It’s funny the timing of this post by Lori on Leading and Loving It. Because this week I was leading and living it.
I first started making virtual friends when my stepfather brought home a computer and immediately set up our dial-up internet connection (I bet most of you barely remember…if at all…a time when being on the internet meant you couldn’t use your homephone at the same time!). It was Day 4 of Chicken Pox for me(Day 2 after I finally confessed when my scratching got noticed…darn) and I think they were a little freaked out by me having (out of pure unadulterated boredom & cabin fever) cleaned the entire house…including pulling out sofas and scrubbing at skirting boards.
Just so you know, at no point during my high school or university exams did my boredom or procrastination ever reach that level of obsessive cleaning again.
First of all, I met several people online – one of which I still keep on contact with on facebook though we’ve yet to meet in person.
And then I quickly got introduced to ICQ. Soon, when my friends got internet in their homes too, they joined ICQ.
So I was 15 when I had a virtual friend become an in-person friend for the first time…
Both of us grew up in Edinburgh but came from completely different backgrounds. Where as my friend went to one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious independent schools (and one of the weirdest I might add!), I grew up in a nice enough part of Edinburgh in the catchment area of one of Scotland’s worst high schools. Where the girls at my dance school and the Girl Guides in Morningside area didn’t want to associate with me because ‘oh…you’re from Leith? Aren’t they all schemies there?‘ that didn’t ever matter to my friend. When I went to Aberdeen, and he went off to study at ‘Oxbridge’, we have kept in really good contact. 11 years on, and we remain very good friends. It was fabulous to have he and his girlfriend last year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and equally to see him in his new hometown of London in April.
It’s weird to think it’s been 11 years we’ve known each other, and it’s funny when people ask how we met!
Since coming into the world of blogging and twitter…the number of virtual friendships that have been created has increased.
Last year I had the chance to meet Connor when he was visiting friends in Edinburgh. And it was not so long ago, a new lassie in our church had discovered my blog. Despite going to the same church services for several months at least I met both Lindsay and Ruth online before I met them in person. In fact Ruth’s Mum calls me ‘Ruth’s internet friend‘.
Well this week, I got to be Emily (@eMSY) and Mark’s (@mark_uk) first ever tweet-up. We met through our Night Before Christmas video adventures, and have connected on twitter ever since. So when I heard they were coming up to this neck of the woods, I was determined to make the time to meet up with them.
And we did…
They are exactly how I expected them. What they’re like online and in person are one and the same. Lovely, fun, kind, silly and crazy (in a good way), laid back & organised all in one. I honestly felt like I’d known them for years – not like it was the first time we’d met at all. I got the privilege of being their tour guide – you might guess from Flower of Scotland Fridays how much I love Scotland and I lovelovelove showing people around my city and this fabulous country I have the honour of being born into! I was super impressed by their son (known online as JT) who just went with the flow of being driven and being made to walk up Edinburgh’s many hills by this crazy lady who his parents had met online!!
For sure it’s got me more excited (and a little less nervous) about my road trip in July. Already Emily, Mark and JT were going to be one of my stops – so thank you God that we seem to like each other in person as well as online! I can’t wait to see them again, as I’ve had so much fun with them the last few days.
Although I’m going to have to be careful in July…I now know from the pics Emily has put up on Facebook that she’s like the Twitter paparazzi!
So now, more than ever I hope to get further into the world creating in-person friendships with my virtual friends. And I hope you guys in Australia and USA realise how much I am desperate to be camping out on your sofas and floors so I can do this!!