This seems to be a loaded question, right? Yea...
Are online friends real friends? That is the question! For me, this question can not be completely answered in a yes or no fashion. It has to be case by case, person by person, situation by situation. I'll start by telling you my story with the pros and cons of online friends.
The obvious answer here and what people usually automatically go towards is YES! Of course online friends are real friends too! DUH, stupid! *Shakes Head*
Well, for everyone, that is NOT the case and every "friend" is not always real when it comes to being online and I think that is a smart way to go into any online friendship. Honestly, its probably the smartest way to go into ANY friendship these days. Am I right?
One of the biggest problems with being online and interacting with people is that unless you know that person directly or have seen them face to face, you have no clue if they are really who they say they are. They can act and be literally whoever they want to be behind a computer screen. Mary, who's a CEO with a ton of friends could really be Bart, a creepy hairy guy that lives in his mothers basement smelling glue all day...Just saying.
My perspective with this question comes from a social media influencers side of things. Which has its on slew of pros and cons. In my experience, more cons than pros but even so, the pros out weight the cons by a long shot.
Whats a social media influencer you ask? Well... someone who spends their time at home, alone usually, talking to a camera like there are millions of people watching. Also, the person who takes a million different pictures just to get the right ONE for instagram. Or, the person who spends their whole night doing live shows talking to people they have most likely never met but who ultimately mean the world to them.
By definition, a social media influencer is a noun and means this: A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you how I take this question from a social media influencers perspective. You wanna talk about loaded?! Here goes...
Yes...and No. That is the answer. Yes in the sense that you have access to millions of people who do show their faces and are in videos and you have seen them in live shows etc so, you KNOW they are real.Or you have viewers and subscribers who seem to love you and your personality and what you bring to the online world. No, in the sense that even though you know the face matches the person, it does not mean that they are as nice and honest as they claim to be and peoples motives can be driven by greed or even jealousy.
I have been on YouTube and social media for over three years now and in that time, I have been screwed over or lied to by DOZENS of people. Half of which claim to also be social media influencers. Some being actual companies and brands and others being the viewers or subscribers that watch and follow me. I've had friendships that felt so real to me that I even labeled a few my best friends. Just to find out they lied about who they were or they turned into psychos with an agenda and tried to ruin my name by spreading lies about me constantly. I've had subscribers and followers get close to me claiming to be honest but, they were just getting close to be to gain information for gossip websites or free makeup and money from me. I've even been SCAMMED, yes SCAMMED by a social media influencer that a lot of people know and for the sake of not causing drama, let it go. This day and age, being honest about hard to swallow things gains you the title of being a horrible person but, that's a whole other blog post for another time.
On the other side of this, I have also met some of the most amazing people I will probably ever know in my life time online. People that for years have been straight and honest and who they claim to be. People who were the exact reason I started doing what I do here online and the very people who keep me going through all the bullshit. People who have never met me in person yet help me when I am in need and are always there to be a shoulder for me to cry on or lend a hand. People who make me laugh harder than I have in a long time and who I love hanging out with online talking to for hours.
I started out online looking for friends. That journey became a lifestyle and a job for me but, in that journey, I NEVER forgot why I originally started here. Friendship. I have found real friendship and I have found fake friendship. The answer to this question will always be yes AND no.
If you have come online looking for real friendship. Its possible. There are millions of people online, REAL PEOPLE, looking for the same thing as you. Just go down this road with your hazard lights on. Do not trust right away and do not give out your personal information or any information unless you are 100% certain the person is who they say they are. I would say, give it a good 6 months to a year honestly. One great thing about online friendships or even online relationships is, you get to know the persons personality before knowing their looks or anything physical about them. Just make sure their personality is really theirs.
I am a 31 year old, stay at home mother with a Beauty Channel on YouTube. I will never be "proper" or professional on Youtube so sometimes, I need to vent!