The World Wide Web of Friends

Casey Walsh ’14
EE Staff Writer

Even back in the days of MySpace, everyone has always headed caution towards making friends on the Internet and on social media sites. We’ve all been to assemblies in school in which an adult comes in and talks about how they thought they were becoming friends with a 20 year old girl named Brittany from New York when it was really Mark, a 50 year old man from New Jersey. But despite all of the negativity given towards making friends online, I personally believe that there is a positive side to making friends online if you go about it the right way.

Many people have found their best friends in the “fan world” of Twitter and Tumblr. Trumbull High senior Krissy Szabo met her best friend, Iman, through Tumblr (a blogging website where you can post pictures of things you like or pictures that relate to your life). “I had posted something that was like ‘follow me on Twitter and I’ll follow you back’ and she followed me because of that,” Szabo remarks, “we ended up retweeting each other a lot and that’s what sort of started the friendship.”

“I used to get a little bit scared because people always used to joke around telling me ‘oh she’s totally catfishing you!’ but I never believed them.”  “Catfishing” is a term that comes from the show Catfish on MTV. According to urbandictionary.com, a catfish is “a person who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities.” That is the most common fear in making friends on the Internet.

After talking on Twitter for a few months, the two exchanged Snapchat users as the true test of a fraud. Snapchat is an app in which you “snap” a picture or video of yourself and send it to your friends for up to 10 seconds. As soon as Iman snapchatted Krissy back and she saw the same face that was in her picture on Twitter, she knew that Iman was indeed who she said she was. Krissy and Iman have been friends for two years now and are meeting in person January 18th.

The fan world of Twitter has aided in the creation of many friendships that are stronger than any in-school friendships I have ever seen. Millions of girls all over the world come together because they are a fan of the same thing: One Direction. I know it may seem bizarre to some people that five boys can connect girls from all around the world and build unbreakable friendships, but it happens every day. I have personally made three of my best friends on Twitter. Mollie from North Carolina, Pauline from Canada, and Karla from Mexico. They have been better friends to me than some of the friends I’ve known for my entire life. “I can’t tell you how many times that one of my online friends has helped me get through something more than a physical friend has,” says Mollie, “Online friends also give you hope that one day, you’ll meet them and be able to thank them for all of the times they were there for you.” Mollie and I became friends because she sent me a direct message on Twitter saying hi and asking me how my day was going and now four months later, we are the best of friends. We have so much in common and we talk every day, as if we go to the same school.

Online friends are truly the best friends you’ll ever have. “People online are truly amazing because they take you for who you are,” Pauline says, “They genuinely like you for you and that’s a great feeling.” But as always, you need to be careful at first with your online friends. Talk to them for a while and really get to know the person, there’s nothing wrong with that and don’t give out too much personal information right away. Online friends are always painted in such a negative light, I think it’s high time the positive side is shown as well.

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