Life and death on the Internet

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the relationships that we form online, and how they affect our lives. We interact with hundreds (in some cases, thousands) of people online everyday, but rarely do you know more about a person than a first name, handle, or icon. Regardless, oftentimes an emotional attachment is made (for better or for worse) because you know someone through their opinions and words. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for some time, but I don’t know if I can find the right words to express how I feel on the matter, so stick with me.

This past month, two people whom I knew through online communities passed away. The first was Bruce Galloway, a member of my guild. He fell sick very suddenly, and the entire guild banded together to support him. It was a wonderful thing to see at the time, and when he passed away we shared in our grief together. Only a few of us had actually met him in person, but the feelings of sadness and loss were no less painful because of that.

The second person was Ben High, a listener and contributor to ExtraLife Radio, a podcast that I’ve listened to for a long time. He had a great segment that he would send in to those guys almost every week where he would showcase a new indie band. He was only 19, and he also died very suddenly and unexpectedly. When I learned about it, it broke my heart to think that someone so young and with so much potential was gone.

And when James Kim, my good friend and coworker at CNET, passed away this last December it was astonishing to see the outpouring of support from the online community. As the Internet becomes such so intertwined with our daily lives, it seems like we find new ways to share emotion about the loss of someone important to all of us. When someone dies in a community they come together for the wake, to grieve, to discuss the person’s life and accomplishment. Online we do the same thing, but we’re oftentimes separated from one another by thousands of miles.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post was. The internet is a wonderful way to meet new people, but at the same time the reality often hits that there are real people on the other side of the screen who can get sick, or have an accident, or die. Trying to understand how to deal with the feelings of losing someone you know but have never actually met is a task that we’re all going to have to become more familiar with as time goes on, and as we become ever more absorbed in the online world.

35 thoughts on “Life and death on the Internet

  1. It’s funny you should bring this up. I’m a Ph.D. student in communication, and the dissertation I’m writing now is about online intimacy. I’m not talking about cybersex or any of that, but about the feelings of intimacy we have with other people we’ve never met face to face. Are online relationships intimate, or are they only falsely intimate? It’s kind of a weird question. It reminds me of the question about “what does it mean to be alive?” The more we try to answer that question, the more we can get robots to do exactly the same thing…and I DON’T think robots are alive. Still…I think we are intimate with online correspondents, but it’s definitely a different intimacy than, say, my relationship with my children.

  2. I’ve found that most online relationships are not much different than ones that we have in real life (RL). People often say that the online relationships arent as “real” and that there is something artificial and fleeting about them. But think about the people you befriend at work. Having switched jobs a few times I know that at every workplace I’ve been at you make friends with people, often spending more time with them than any of your friends you had before the job. And once you leave that job, while you may keep up with some people, the lack of proximity certainly impacts the nature of your relationships. The same applies to online relationships. When I was playing WoW a lot, my guild mates were the first people who knew when my wife went into labor. (We were in Strat at the time and had to explain why we needed to bail so suddenly :). But since I’m not playing much any more, I only keep in touch with a few people who I formed a closer relationship with. However just because those relationships have not persisted, they were no less “real” than any other one you have in RL.

    It’s unfortunate that its often the tragedies that make us realize how big an impact some of these online “strangers” have on our lives.

  3. “meeting” is overrated, at least in the old sense of the word.

    the internet is like moving to a big city. i grew up in a small town and everybody there died of old age. when i moved out to go to college, suddenly i met people whose dad was shot or whose little sister died of a strange disease, etc. as i moved out to an even bigger city, these things became even more common. and then came satellite tv and the internet.

    cue music for “the global village” and “the world is flat”.

  4. V,
    This is a topic that my friend Alachia and I have spoken about many, many times before on both our podcasts. In essence, you get to know someone basically through a common channel. A game, a podcast, an article. But mainly you get to know them in that context, but that doesn’t mean that you get to know then any more or less than if you knew them in person, you just get to know them in a way that’s different than most people understand.

    But, how much of that person do you really get to know? Are they good-mannered to real people? Do they have emotional problems that you don’t know about? Are they punctual? Lazy? How much of them do you really get to know?

    So if we form attachements to people that we’ve never met, what does that say about what we need as people to form a friendship? There are people in my WoW guild that showed up at a guildie’s wedding to show support, and they never met before. That meant so much to everyone.

    You get to get inside people’s heads and that’s where I think a lot of our relationships form. Now, even though I’m married, if I wasn’t at this time, I’d never get involved with someone I only knew online. They could have a lot of other social issues which could prevent a good physical relationship, but at least having an intellectual one is a good place to start.

    That said, I’ve never lost anyone I met online, but I have had broken friendships. I’ve also made good friends, people that I think will be around for a very long time. Three of them I met, most I haven’t. One just left my guild after being in it through seven years over three MMOs. It was heartbreaking.

    There are so many aspects to “knowing” people in the meta. I still think that the best way to get to know someone is to at the very least meet them once over beer and pizza :). However, I do believe that people can form strong intellectual bonds and never meet in person.

  5. This is something we have to think about and will come up more and more your right. I have not lost anyone I know good online but I am a co founder of an adult gaming clan that plays on the Xbox360 and has been around for a few years now. When one of us has a baby we have members sending stuff for the new baby from all ove the US, Canada and the UK. As we all know the 360 has had hardware problems and when one of our members has a problem and has to send there 360 in for repair another member that has two sends them one so they can keep gaming till Microsoft sends it back. One day I’m packing up my 2nd 360 to send to Ohio and one of my (real life/in person) buddys that does not game online told me I was nuts and asked how did i know i would get it back if I never met the guy in person. I said I never thought about it that way and that i know the guy for a long time online. I think he still thinks I’m nut and does not understand how people can be friends if they never meet in person. PS.. I have always got my 360 back…

  6. When someone you know well on the internet dies, I think that it’s similar to when you hear about a celebrity or idol that you like dies. Both mean something to you in different ways. In the case of the celebrity, I would only mourn the people that I know firsthand were really great people, like Ray Charles. When someone like James Kim dies, I feel the same thing, and in relation to myself, I feel that he was a really wonderful person. If you start to doubt your ties to community relationships over the internet, don’t. It’s all a matter of what you, yourself, attach value to.

  7. The nature of the internet actually allows people with similar interests and POV to more easily find each other. As a result, I think that many friendships that form online can actually be stronger.

    Similarly, the internet allows us more ways to express our grief in ways that are consistent with our individual means of expression.

    I thought that the WoW meet-up in honour of Bruce was actually a great way to celebrate how he touched your lives.

  8. It was something extreamly nice to read, i have had those experiences myself, i lost a lot of internet friends, and it really hurted me.

    btw, there are people in the net wich now more about me then “rel life” people.

  9. So true. I’ve met at least two people through my blog and random commenting way back in 2004. We still talk and email each other, even to the point where we have each other’s number just in case (though none of us like using phones.) I’ve heard news of marriage and babies through email or Facebook, or whichever. And when one of them is down, I try to be the first person there. It’s just easier because whether or not they do, you expect that they are ‘listening’ to you. That’s always a nice feeling.

  10. The internet is certainly a great medium for connection between people, somewhere where there the boundaries of religion and other such things rarely exist, and the people that we converse with often become good friends. I am lucky enough to not have lost anyone I know online to sickness or such things, but I do remember last December with the loss of James Kim, and how the internet literally heaved with grieving. I thought that show of emotion from people who are scattered throughout the planet was what the internet is all about, and it was then that the good side of the net really shined through at an important moment for everyone to see.

    Great post V, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it

    Looking forward to the new show :D

  11. Wow, that was one piece of fine reading!

    I have agree with you. I when James Kim passed away, it was very sad to me, even though I only knew him through various CNET Podcasts and CNET TV – and even though I haven’t “known” him for very long.

  12. Veronica, even though you initially felt like you couldn’t find the right words for this entry, I just want to thank you for going for it anyhow, because it came out quite clearly. Well said.

    To me, one of the most important parts of this issue is the fact that even though we maybe only knew little cross-sections of this person, our grief isn’t experienced in cross-sections.

  13. i believe some statistics say that the usa is the one country on the planet with the most people consulting a psychologist or therapist on a regular bases. but i think i would prefer cookies. if anyone wants to send me some cookies (like oreos) feel free to do so.

  14. Totally understand. It’s a whole new mode of relationships and I’m sure it won’t be long before books are written on the subject. I’ve “known” people (why put it in quotes though? Just because I haven’t met them in person?) for over 7 years just through blogging and commenting.
    My husband used to tease me about my “fake friends” (i.e. fellow bloggers) but he couldn’t call them fake when one of them mailed us a very un-fake baby gift!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  15. Yeah, I remember having a similar discussion on a forum I used to participate in awhile back. We were wondering if we should somehow notify forum members if something happened to us, and maybe leave a message to a family member or friend to post something on our blogs. It’s a very sobering topic and not fun at all, but it’s something to think about.

    Also, something similar happened in our guild, with one of our members becoming really ill and having to undergo surgery. Members from across the globe actually sent him flowers via 1800flowers or something, and I thought that was simply awesome. Similarly, a couple of our forum friends actually drove all the way from Seattle to San Francisco to attend our wedding. They drove down in the morning and drove back the same day! We were so in awe that they actually showed up! That was probably the best wedding present we ever got.

    It’s strange how connections are made like that in the so-called “virtual” realm. I mean, the commenters/readers on this blog is kind of like a community already, and connections are being made without us even realizing it. It’s scary and cool at the same time.

  16. This is a question that I hadn’t thought of before today, and thankfully have not had to deal with yet. I’m sure I will at some point.

    In my social media course at the University of Miami we talked about victims of the Sao Paulo flight and the orkut blogs that were left behind after the passengers’ deaths. One message contains friendly excitement for their visit to Brazil, the next is the first post in a series of well wishes and condolences for the victim.

    This is a tough issue that we all will have to deal with at one point or another.

  17. I think online intimacy is definitely real. But there are two theories that play “starring” roles in my dissertation that keep on coming up to the surface. First off, Joseph Walther came up with the hyperpersonal theory. He noticed that online relationships progressed at a far faster rate than traditional face-to-face relationships. He noticed that people gave more personal information online faster than face-to-face relationships, which caused others to respond with extremely personal information as well. Quickly, they were sharing amazingly private information with others online. Walther further noted that because they couldn’t see the others and also because most of these contacts were people who didn’t know anybody else in the person’s daily life (usually due to distance and lack of motivation), they didn’t feel threatened, and they entered into an “intensification loop” of intimacy. They kept giving information because they didn’t feel like they would be betrayed (and even if the other person did “betray” them, they couldn’t do much damage, so it was low risk). So they continued to feel intimate, but at a highly accelerated rate. He called this kind of relationship a “hyperpersonal” relationship because it progressed so much faster than a traditional “personal” relationship.

    The second theory that comes to mind is one proposed by Mark Granovetter. He came up with something called “tie strength.” “Ties” are the relationships we have and the strength of ties (weak ties versus strong ties) has to do with how close we feel to them. Granovetter argued that weak ties (what we would probably call “acquaintances” rather than “friends”) were far more important than we usually give them credit for. His original study looked at how people found a job. He noticed that people who had a lot of acquaintances (weak ties) had a much easier time finding a job than those who had more close friends (strong ties) but fewer acquaintances. He then noticed that often people will give more credibility to weak ties than strong ties, and will often tell weak ties information they would never tell anybody else. Think about the bartender who knows everybody’s secrets but isn’t really anybody’s close friend. There are a lot of people in academia that think the relationships we make online are basically a series of “weak ties” rather than “strong ties” and that Walther’s idea of “hyperpersonal relationships” is nothing more than false intimacy.

    Part of me buys that…and then a big part of me denies it. I think about people in online cancer support groups (I’ve done quite a bit of study there), and it’s hard for me to swallow that those people aren’t honest to goodness close friends. When you share your hopes and dreams with someone else, and when his/her response affects you, it’s hard to argue that’s not a real, honest-to-goodness relationship.

    I think it’s really interesting stuff. Otherwise I don’t guess I’d be studying it. I know I’ve met some really great people online…and I’ve met several crackpots. I’m guessing if I engaged the people I meet daily face to face in the same kinds of conversations I have online, I’d think I know more crackpots and really great people than I currently do.

    I do, however, lament the loss of the geographic community. The Internet tends to cluster people together based on interest, not on geography. There’s a nice part to that. If you hold an unusual belief or interest, it’s easy to find others who share that belief or interest online. But it usually comes at the expense of meeting your (physical) next door neighbor. Robert Putnam, in his book “Bowling Alone” says back in the 1950s, bowling alleys used to get most of their business from community bowling leagues. Neighbors who would get together to bowl on a team. Today, bowling alleys get most of their revenues from people who bowl as a family, or individually. We don’t really know our neighbors. Backyard political debates between physical neighbors who were on different sides of the ideological fence is drying up. We just don’t debate our friends anymore. Debate has turned into contention, and we let Fox and CNN do our debating for us, anyway. With geographic communities, we could have differences that we respected because, at the end of our political differences, we still had to be next door neighbors who got along. Now, if we choose to live our lives in niche cyber-communities that never challenge our deeply entrenched ideas (but instead vehemently support them), we certainly can. That, I think, is sad.

  18. I have been involved with the internest pre-Mozilla (you’re Mom may know what that means) and with bulletin board communities through today’s web 2.0 social networks. Communication has become increasingly sophisticated with images and video, but the essential “connection” has not changed. I have seen powerful relationships made through old and new internet and I have also seen meet ups form lifelong bonds where people share their lives literally everything from marriage to travel companions. The internet is a powerful tool for connecting with people and developing relationships even if you don’t meet. A lot of these connecting people are even older than me– the boomers are using Web 2.0 to connect via common interests, blogging, and specialized networks of all kinds (maybe older types see more of a need to physically meet? Yes? No?). People want to bond– it’s human nature, we form social networks with drums and smoke or with the web. It’s us.

  19. I met a guy once on MySpace who did incredible paintings. We would trade work, I’d send him stuff I’d had published and he’d send me prints. Suddenly I found out he had brain cancer. I read this on his blog. He didn’t tell me personally. I read that he only had a month or so to live. One day his blog just went cold, no updates, and I assumed the worst, and could conclude from the comments people left who had really known him that he had passed. Once I found out he had cancer I avoided him until he passed. In some weird way I felt like it was selfish to try to soothe over how bad I felt inside, how I cried when I read his blog, and that to try to cross over the digital divide would be presumptuous. He had friends who saw him drunk, humiliated at times, sad, angry, full of life, and that’s where the ownership of a relationship with him belonged. I guess in a way a social network friend is like one of those one-way window panes in those old strip-club “peek a boo” shows, except with both parties aloud to see each other. But all it really takes is that proscenium divide to make what’s going on on the other side still seem like just a show.

  20. I thought about this a lot when James Kim had passed – here was a guy who so many of us didn’t know in person and yet were just heartbroken when we learned of the tragedy of what happened. The way the online community surrounding us responded was such a measure of the capacity for meaningful connections in online communities.

    Thanks for this really touching piece, and for reminding us of the importance of all connections, whatever the medium between them is.

  21. Foremost, I’m sorry for your losses.

    But I’m glad you posted this. I think it merits discussion, especially with social mediums evolving at the rate they are.

    When I deleted my MySpace profile, I actually had people “checking up” on me in the real world. This was both strange and flattering. That extension of myself was dear to at least a couple of people yet in some cases these were people I rarely (in some cases never) spoke to in real life. I too have experienced the other side of that longing, admittedly.

    A real world equivalent: Have you ever developed some kind of friendly connection with, say, a bartender or a particular cafe worker only to be (perhaps overly) crestfallen once discovering they’re no longer employed there?

    All relationships carry some risk, physical or online. But things like MySpace or blogs can foster relationships in bulk …thus increasing the potential for both happiness and, by design, pain.

  22. I’ve had three experiences with this type of thing and each was unique.

    First, a coworker of mine moved over a 1000 miles away. However, we kept in touch through blogging (he’s the one who introduced me to it). I got to know the other readers of his blog. A cool little community built up around his blog – people he’d known throughout his life in completely different times and places got to know and like each other. Then he died suddenly. Each of us posted farewell messages to(about) him on his blog. His family, who had been completely oblivious to his blogging habit, found those messages and were bolstered by the genuine outpouring of love and friendship from people literally all over the world. The minister who conducted his funeral even read the blog to get a better understanding of who my friend was in preparation for the service.

    Later on, I got involved in a little social network that had been established for a while (a little slice of fandom similar to your Guild). I only met a couple of these people online, but felt like I knew at least certain pieces of their personalities fairly well. They all had stories about a member who died just before I joined the group. This member had been a witty and much beloved participant in online discussions. Even though I never met him, I ended up knowing his whole story and recognized little tribute mentions that were made about him in various circumstances (like certain people wearing t-shirts that he’d designed). It was odd feeling nostalgic about someone I’d never even remotely known.

    Most recently, I’ve had to deal with the death of my own mother. The only real outlet I have to express the depth of my feelings is on my own blog. I’ve told the 5 or 6 people who read my blog more than I’ve told my own family during this difficult period. My readers (who I do know IRL) patiently read through my expressions of pain and loss, waiting for me to post more positive messages (which I have finally started to do). I’m not sure how I would cope with this severe loss without my blog. Death is an odd thing to deal with on any level, much less in our world of strange online half-connections.

    I was one of the people who reached out to you after James Kim’s death. I listened to the CNET podcasts (BOL, everyday) and felt like I got to know major pieces of the personalities of each of you. It’s strange, but even though I’d never met you in person, I couldn’t stop thinking about how horrible James’ loss must be for you (since you seemed to work more closely with him than the other BOLers). It just felt so real to me. I can’t really explain it any other way. And that is what I guess is so special and so odd about the internet.

  23. In Truden Web Site we also lost an angel friend
    She was really an angel (19 years young)
    That is the life.
    Our hearts get softer when the life hits them harder.

    The Internet made us to see the person as words, not as soul.
    We pay attention to the ideas, not to the one who caries them out.
    We forget that on the other site of the monitor is staying a person who can cry and can laugh, a person who might need right now to hear one warm word.

    So, when we meet online we must hug each other.
    Take my hug and give me one, please :D

  24. When I was younger, life was simpler. Oh I can’t complain for all that I’ve experienced in life; however, it seems like there are never enough wonderful and joyous experiences to shield us from the hurt we inevitably feel. Though when it was just me, my family, the holiday-time relatives, my best’est-buddy Johnnie down the block, and the friends I had from school, well, it seemed as though an concept of “hurt” was so far off. And if not far off, then at least the potential for hurt was limited in scope. But then who spent time thinking about such things. And when I was growing up, there was no Internet, not really anyway.

    Flash forward a bit, and my family — those still alive — split far apart, moving to different parts of the world, along with the extended, occasional family. Johnnie from down the block, well, we lost touch many years ago, right before he moved out of house, had an operation, became Joni, lived on the streets, contracted HIV, and died in obscurity — he never lived to see the Internet. As for the friends in school, well, those who stayed together ended up married, remarried, cross-married, and now share a sort of oddly sweet, and mostly dysfunctional, 21′st century family. Those, not unlike myself, who left for greener pastures, are mostly in jail or are playing a role in running our country — either is a bit a tragic. At least some of them are being reformed. As for me, I got out before it got interesting.

    I chose the strange, geeky world of technology. It got me out of “my circumstances,” and into a mildly-successful life. And with the Internet becoming such an integral part of it, the landscape changed dramatically. I met a thousand Johnnie’s, Joni’s, and friends (yes, friends) from all over the world — all ages, races, nationalities, religions, and political affiliations. Sure, most of you I’ve never met — like, in the flesh — but over time, and in spite of the distances that may separate us, some of you with whom I’ve grown close, and the many of you with whom I’ve not, you have touched me deeply, and in so many ways.

    It’s amazing really, I mean, when you really stop to think about it.

    I’ve heard it said, even by many I work with, that “… it’s a shame so many people waste their time on the Internet …” And that “… the Internet is depersonalizing the concept of real person-to-person interaction …” (my personal favorite). As if the person at the other end of the wire is any less of a person — to me or anyone else — or that we couldn’t share real feelings, real emotions, real time, together, and yes, sometimes in person. Actually, I’ve met more of you from the Internet, from the ether, than friends I grew up with. Over the years, at conferences, meet-ups, on cruises, at announcements (thank you MicroSoft and Apple) and, from time to time, just to meet, I have met dozens of you.

    But whether we’ve met or not, the many layers and distance that the Internet can put between us cannot insulated me from the hurt. When you fall ill, I feel. When your circumstances are unfortunate, I feel. When your happy, I feel.

    As for how I will deal with the many of you who have lives that mean so much, to so many, and to me, well, we will all have to deal with it more or less in the same way — our own way. And no matter how many miles of cable and fibre, or the number of repeaters, switches, or routers that separate us, we’ll feel it, because the Internet neither hastens nor hampers our ability to care.

  25. I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on here.

    Everyone’s personal experiences are really touching to hear and this subject as a whole really says something about basic human compassion.

    We all care in some form or another, despite how superficial it is. It’s still care and it’s still genuine and that’s one of the shining merits of mankind.

  26. I’d just like to say that the internet has allowed me and others I know to express grief freely as opposed to keeping it bottled up inside. I lost several of my school-mates this year and miss them all very much. As a community, we have started Facebook groups to express our pain and to join together in support.
    http://rit.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2259676560

  27. Not only that but I think it’s true to say that sometimes we get happy for our online buddies that succeed on their jobs, and get a promotion (or are hired by Mahalo), as we are also happy when they get married, have children, win a competition, and so on…

  28. I meet folks all the time and since I live in Japan it is almost impossible to actually meet up…a good friend I met via a video chat…a couple years ago when the iChat technology was new…he lived in Japan and I did too…call of both slackers but it took us a two years to met up, and that was by chance!

  29. Hi V,

    I think I know exactly what you are talking about. I was surprised by how much James’ death affected me given that I only knew him through his work. My wife was also surprised how concerned I was when he and his family first disappeared. Reading or listening to people’s work some how gives you a personal connection to them and at some level makes you feel as though you know them — when in fact you do not. It is very much a part of our new age.

    Gil

  30. WoW….this was a surprise to read this post. I’ve been in many online relationships. The ones you feel are fake, are fake. The ones where you feel like you’ve know the person for 3 years and just met, those are real. Nothing says that online communication can’t share the same feelings as RL communication. When you click, you click!

    I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful girl from Texas when I was on Pogo. We got along great, except the boyfriend came into the picture. It got to the point where she started pushing me away because she was having feelings for me that she shouldn’t have been having because she had a boyfriend. I still say that she is my soul mate, but i haven’t talked to her in a year or so, so I guess we move on.

    It’s true when they say WoW or any other MMORPG is not just a game anymore. There’s a really community to it, and there’s real people behind that ugly blood elf hunter! I guess it’s the same with anything in RL, you spend enough time with someone and you start to develop some kind of relationship for that person. You might never know them outside of work, school, WoW, etc, but you’ve got that relationship where you’re just a good friend in that environment and you know stuff about them that nobody else does.

    It’s really weird. Kinda scary. Because in RL, i’m the most anti-social person on earth, but I spend so much time playing WoW outside of work (I work graveyard shift) that the people in my guild are my friends now!

    The only thing I can say is I’m a huge music fan, and when Dimebag Darrell was shot on stage that fateful Dec. 8th, it literally had me in tears because I loved the guy so much just based on his guitar playing. Same thing when Dale Earnhardt died crashing in Daytona. Same thing when Kurt Cobain shot himself. Real people, I’ve never met. Yet I felt an emotional attachment to these people that made me react in a way I would have if a family member died.

    This thing we call life is in for a drastic overhaul with the internet becoming more and more popular. I hate social networking sites, but in reality, these are the new bars. Instead of going out to bars now, we hang out on social networking sites…lol.

  31. Going to try to make this brief as I don’t want it to come off the wrong way. Like some others have said, when James Kim died, it was similar to when a celebrity or public figure dies. I was very depressed when he passed away, especially because of what happened to him specifically. Even though i never met him, I really enjoyed his work and he seemed like a great individual. One creates an emotional attachment to these figures which sometimes is uncontrollable.

    I personally feel, however, that there may be less of an emotional connection to someone you talk to regularly on a message board. Most of the time you’ve never seen pictures of these individuals, and have never even heard their voice. It is a very strange situation to mourn someone if that is the case.

    Going back to James Kim, when he was first announced missing, I felt the same way i felt when I heard Magic Johnson announced he had the HIV virus. When you have a great respect for what a public figure has accomplished, it affects you without your control.

  32. re: “I’m not really sure what the point of this post was” I think you answered that in the next line: “The internet is a wonderful way to meet new people, but at the same time the reality often hits that there are real people on the other side of the screen who can get sick, or have an accident, or die.”

    It was an excellent, reflective post. +2, thumbs up, “This is cool”, etc.

  33. Veronica,
    What is means is that you are a very caring and emotional person. Not everyone can feel the way you do. It is a good gift to have, enjoy it! We have highs and we have lows, but that is how life is dealt to us. It was nice you thought to post about it!

  34. That is a very interesting post and it has really got me thinking. You’re right though, this is something new that we will have to become more familiar with…

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