How old is your oldest internet friend relationship, where "internet friend" is someone you met online and have never / will never meet in person, but still type at online sometimes?

@MattMerk Yeah, it would be interesting to know from people, especially with those 20+ year internet friends, why they are still in the internet-only box. I suspect geography is a common factor.

@K4_713 @MattMerk Geography, funds, time, and different lives/lifestyles.

I meet the good ones. I married the best one! (We met on IRC in 1999 or 2000, can't remember exactly when.)

@emery @K4_713 In all those cases, where the hurdles were just too high, those acquaintances for me have just faded away. But even when on different continents (in my case North America) I've met a couple online friends from Europe.

This conversation may inspire me to meet others in different parts of the world.

@MattMerk @K4_713 For sure, a lot of those relationships have faded from friendship to acquaintanceships to "huh, I wonder how that person is doing these days." But there are still occasional connections, so they still count.

Unrelatedly, I really appreciate that you've got Clippy in your display name. (My day job is Word Wrangler.)

@emery LOL, re: clippy.

There are some who faded from view where I later found out they had died. That's always a shock, and always feels bad. I think those times made me more aware of whom I was following on social media. It's sometimes easy to forget that they are people with whole lives outside of their online presence. Now I'm more interested, but always err on the side of not prying.

@MattMerk I wonder if it's actually a good thing that social media lets us stay in contact with folks we'd otherwise have drifted away from. Most of the time, I think it is. But sometimes I wonder if it holds back our growth.

At the same time, some of those old friends with whom I'm less-acquainted now still get in touch when there's something relevant to share - like two years ago, one of my old IRC friends bought a media box that arrived full of floppies labeled "Brother/KnitKing 930/940." While he was trying to figure out what that meant, he found my knitting blog, recognized it as mine, and.. well, now I have a box of floppy disks.


@emery @K4_713 @MattMerk I also married the best one! Met online in ‘94, were increasingly close friends, moved from Canada to NZ to be with him in ‘96. My oldest never-met friends are from that era; I still hold out hope of meeting some of them.

@K4_713 @brion we even live in the same city now and still haven’t met. It almost feels a shame to ruin that at this point, we met on IRC in 1995.

@K4_713 I've lost so many in the past 30 years :(

The crowd. There was a 10-12 year period for a core group of us staying in communication, even after the discussion site crumbled.

@Greg I had a phase in which I moderated a series of boards all over the place, and I gradually lost most of the people I talked to online the most when Facebook basically stole the show and made everyone use real names.

Weird to think I may even have met some of my old internet buddies irl, and I'd never know it.

@K4_713 totally.

I just went down a waybackmachine memory lane and :( I miss that discussion board. It was a one-off developed thing (not phpbb) and we had a little chat server associated with (called "Nekken" I want to say but that's a hard word to search....., running on the telnet port).

It got me through high school and college.

I remember chatting with another user on his physics phd research, another about her vampire mmorpg stuff, another about homesteading, such a great mix o' folks.

@K4_713 This was a hard one as in the old days there was Usenet and irc, and we had something called RP (relay party) where we met once or twice a year, but there are still people from these days I never met but now follow on Mastodon.

@K4_713 @PaulCzege Thanks, I hadn't had my daily dose of "You're old!" yet.

@miriamrobern @PaulCzege Ha, I prefer to think of the longer-term answers as a notice that you've probably earned the status of being a friendly and at least somewhat reliable internet elder.
(...I'm firmly in the 20+ range, myself...)

@K4_713 @miriamrobern
I definitely still know people I met online more than twenty years ago, but I can't think of one I haven't met in person that I still chat with regularly.

@K4_713 Will never meet in person? That narrows the range considerably, since I just spent the last year ticking a lot of the old-timers off that list. It's like 15 years without that clause. Maybe still 15 years if I don't meet the rest in the future.
I got on Fedi in 2018 ... so I assume 5 years

@K4_713 I have several friends from early 90s usenet that I still interact with daily.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Reality allowed, but not not encouraged.