I’ve grown up online. I always attribute my fast typing speed to using AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), where I can remember my fingers flying with my pinky on the shift key as I got in arguments with my friends and “boyfriends.” I was one of the first of my friends to join Facebook when they opened it to non-college students, and I was one of the first with a Pinterest page too, which is why I have way more followers than I deserve for only pinning things once a year.
So it’s no surprise that I’ve made so many friends online over my 15 years on the Internet.
My first online friend is still someone I consider one of my best friends to this day. I “met” Shane through my friend Emily, who had met Shane online. Shane and I became close friends and he got me through a lot of hard times in high school, even though he lived a 12 hour drive away in Northern California.
It’s also fitting that Shane was the first Internet friend I met in real life, too. Shane drove through Arizona on his move to Nashville, and he stopped in Phoenix along the way. We got to hang out and while it was super weird to see him in person, it was so cool too. I got to spend more time with Shane when I went to Nashville for my Uncle’s wedding – I stayed an extra night at his place and he showed me the town.
Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to meet quite a few Internet friends IRL (in real life).
1: Shane AKA Shaneymcfizzle (his AIM screenname) AKA Shaners (as I have nicknamed him)
2: Danielle from Sometimes Sweet and my Internet friend JenCoen at the Arizona Bloggers Meetup in March 2011.
3: Mel — when she and her family visited California, my mom and I made the trip up to see them and spend a fun day in Pasadena!
4: Rinda, who my mom and I also got to hang out with on our fun California blog-friend weekend. I envy Rinda’s bookshelves full of art journals and scrapbooks. One of the most inspiring things I’ve seen, for sure.
5: Margaret Finnegan, who I was completely in awe of.
6: CRAFTING TOGETHER at Deb’s house with Deb(s14), Denise, Alison and Karen. How cool is that?! (I’m not in this picture, but I promise I was there and I took it!)
7: The coolest blogger meetup in history. We traveled to England and friends from all over Europe came to visit! It was the coolest thing ever getting to meet Ruth (and her The Boy Child), Alison, Jacky, Helena, Becky, Denise, Mel (again, yay!), Karen and Rhona.
8: All of the Stevenson girls are just so awesome. I loved spending an afternoon with Emily, Claire, Megan and Alice (and Rhona!)
…and now this story has come full circle. Shane became friends with this girl named Laura about the same time he and I became friends and get this – he met her online too! Laura and Shane are BFFs, and I’ve known OF her for years. We became Facebook friends a while ago when she moved to Nashville to be with her now-husband Jake (who I got to meet when I was in Nashville visiting Shane). Jake and Laura have the most ADORABLE five-month-old baby named Eli, and I have laughed and cried along with Laura as I’ve watched her life expand via Facebook. Earlier this week, I got to meet Jake, Laura and Eli while they were in Arizona for the weekend to visit Jake’s family. It was SO cool to see Laura in real life, and so now I have a new picture to add to the list of friends I’ve made via the Internet:
9: Jake, Laura and Eli.
Isn’t the Internet the coolest thing ever created?!
PS: It must also be noted that Shane’s wife Tiffany is one of my very best friends, and I have not met her in person YET. Plans in the very near future to do so, and you can bet there will be tons of squealing and maybe a few happy tears when that happens. Can. not. wait!