Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Good Friend of Mine I Never Met—The True Value of Social Media

by Edie Melson

A casual remark caused me to stop and think.
I was chatting with a group of writers at a recent meeting and a random comment stopped me in my tracks.

“I learned that from a good friend of mine I never met.”

I held up my hand for everyone’s attention and asked the speaker to repeat what she’d just said. She gave me an odd look, but complied. The rest of the group mirrored her puzzled expression. I had to laugh before I explained.

“That statement is so commonplace we don’t even register the paradox within it.” As I continued to explain they began to see the irony.

Part of the My Book Therapy Core Team - representing
four different states, SC, MN, IA, CO
It really wasn’t so long ago that a close friend was defined as someone we’d spent actual, physical time with. As a society, we bonded person to person.

Now we still spend actual time with people, but we don’t have to be in the physical proximity of someone to become close friends.

That odd statement is at the core of what makes social media valuable. It gives us the opportunity to connect—on a meaningful level—with people that may never sit in the same room as us.

I’m in no way advocating we forego gathering together, but I do think it’s good to broaden our horizons and reach out online.

More of the MBT Team, 3 more states
Right now I can name at least six people that I consider close friends and I’ve never even been in the same state with them, much less the same room. These are people I pray for regularly and who pray for me. We exchange regular texts, instant messages and social media messages.

More than that, many of my online friends have become advocates for the things I write. They share notices about my books and articles, and I do the same for them. We do it because we’re friends and because we believe in each other’s work.

So I’m curious, how many of you have good friends that you’ve never met? I’d love to hear your stories of how you met and how you’ve contributed to each other’s lives.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!




  1. I know exactly what you mean, Edie! I have a close friend in Arkansas and one in Colorado with whom I communicate regularly! I depend on their prayers and support, both on a personal level and a professional level. It always felt kind of weird to call them friends when I never met them but they really are!!!

  2. That's funny, Edie. I can name that many also. Just this week, I've touched base with at least three of them in private messages. One of them lives in Australia. Another just lost her daughter after a long battle with cancer. I feel so fortunate to know these ladies - they've had a big impact on my life and my writing. It's one of the blessings of social media, isn't it?

  3. I loved this post, Edie! The modern world has really opened up the boundaries of friendship. I have friends I've never met in Canada and England and throughout the United States. They're mostly new writers/bloggers like me and we read each other's work, encourage, and cheer one another on. I recently had the chance to meet a Twitter friend who does live in my area. What an incredible experience! We chatted for so long, the waiter had to come over and tell us the restaurant had closed. :-)

  4. I just read a comment on my blog from someone I've never met. She lives in another hemisphere and as I answered her, I felt a little sad that we may never get to meet in person. But I'm thankful for the friendship that's growing with her because of social media!

    I love interacting with people on my blog because it does actually build friendships!

    One of the sweetest interactions happened right after my mom passed away in May. When I blogged about losing my mom, a lady in another state linked to her blog and told me to think of the flower pictures that she had posted that day as a bouquet in honor of my mom. I sobbed. It was such a kind thing to do. From a "stranger".

    Social media can have a huge impact in people's lives. I hope to bless others as I have been blesse

  5. I have several good friends I've met online but never in person (at least, not yet). I enjoy conversing with them via email, on the phone, via Skype, or messaging. Just like you said, they've become prayer partners and encourager me. We dream of the day we get to meet in person, and we share kindred spirits. If you'd asked me when I was thirteen if I ever thought I'd have a bunch of friends I never met, I would have looked as stumped as your writing group. Sometimes I find myself very thankful for social media and technology, no matter how hard we sometimes want to fight it.

  6. A representative from Kirklands reached out to me in the days before my mom's death, and it formed a close bond between us. I consider her a special friend...but we've never met in person. It was literally a miracle of God that we met when and as we did. Social media has kept us close over the years. I look forward to the day we'll meet somewhere--either here in the USA or in heaven--forever friends!

  7. Love this! I have several friends I've met only online. But I feel as though I've known them forever. And I'm in an online critique group and four of us got together for the first time at ACFW in Dallas. It's amazing how we are so connected!

  8. I, too, have several that I haven't met, yet feel a kinship with. I've only been blogging for a few months, and started FB at the same time. I have picked up a few followers that found me through other posts, friends of friends, etc...and we keep lively conversations going all the time. Ain't it Great?

  9. I have several close friends I've never met, but hope to at some point. For that matter, I met my late husband on eharmony!