There are people who I’ve met on the Internet who have become my IRL friends I see and hang out with all the time, and there are other people who I know I’ll probably never meet because, for example, they’re teenagers who live in California and it would be almost inevitably weird and awkward if we did meet, but I still feel close to them. I know I’ve said some version of this before but it’s still the best way I know of describing these relationships: a part of me knows a part of these people really well, and vice versa. Our whole selves aren’t communicating, but those parts are close. Even if I’ve never emailed or messaged with someone, I sometimes feel like even just repeatedly “liking” their posts constitutes a tiny bit of a relationship. And sometimes there’s much more than that: a daily dose of information about someone’s outfit, food or mood, or the kind of books they’re reading, stuff I don’t know about some of my close friends. Stuff these people might not be telling their close friends, that they’re telling the Internet. Stuff they’re telling me.
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