Putting the Real, in the Virtual by Peggy L. Johns

SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE A VERY REAL FORM of Virtual Reality, my reality. I know that so many folks believe that it’s a complete waste to spend time on these sites, but I have discovered they are so much more.

Consider the disabled person, who dreams of a walk in the park, seeing and meeting new people and travel. This social networking thing can take them there, take them anywhere! A friend on the Internet does not have to exist to the user in flesh and blood, to touch to see. Those words typed and sent online to the homebound, well they become real. Over time real friends are made. Now I also realize there are creeps out there, but usually time sorts them out. So we won’t discuss them.

Another amazing use for virtual friends, illness, death, joy. Have you ever stayed up all night, alone worrying? With social networks, you are never alone. Three a.m. lonely? No one to talk to? Sad, worried? Someone is always awake somewhere. That’s when you can find a true friend.

I myself have found this to be true and I wonder how this holiday will play out?

No longer will that homebound person have to spend the holidays alone, now he/she can celebrate virtually with everyone. Christmas in New Zealand, England, Denmark, no more loneliness!

It may seem silly but believe me, it’s real. I have many friends who have met their true loves online too. The ultimate circle of friends.

Even Pets have social networks. Well, we know it’s really people but it’s fun. When a beloved pet passes away who better would understand the real grief experienced except another virtual pet owner. So when a cat picture is posted as a user, I grin. I may even post one myself. Humans know who I really am but maybe Minnie Mouse, my virtual kitty friend will smile too.

A bad day? Spend a few minutes with that far away person. Soon a smile will cross your lips and you’ ll type one!

So, I’ m convinced that those who complain about the length of time people spend on social sites must have so many friends in real life that they are just too busy to have fun. Or could it be that they are just grumpy lonely souls and are afraid to admit it?

I for one don’t care. Long live my virtual friends, far and near.

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