My life is almost completely lived on the internet. I'm not sure if I should be proud or ashamed. As such most of the people that I would consider some of my "best" friends, I know solely online. They are a screen name and if I'm lucky a photo. Some I've been "talking" with for 5+ years. They know things about that no else does. We've celebrated, we've cried, we've always been there.
Having internet friends is an amazing facet of this digitized world. People I would have never met before are suddenly available 100% of the time. If I have a problem - I write it, post it, and suddenly I've got advise from people with different backgrounds, different perspectives, different attitudes. On the net, oil and water can mix.
Internet friendships have a very serious downfall though. People disappear with no way to track them down. You wonder, you worry, there's nothing you can do. There's no door to knock on, no phone to call. You're left wondering if something in the friendship went wrong. What did you say? What did you not say? Are they ok? Did something horrible happen? You may never know.
There's also times when you want to be able to reach out and hug a friend whose life has taken a horrible turn. To be there, to support them, to touch them. Words on a screen can never replace the power of a hug. Words are not enough at those times, yet that is what you are left with. "I'm sorry" looks empty, blank, vacant on the screen.