I always enjoy my conversations with Shel Israel, you never know what nuggets you’ll walk away with. Driving around Miami yesterday we talked about a number of things. One comment sticks out in my mind though, “My friends aren’t virtual!”
I’m not sure how we got there, but the topic of ‘virtual friends’ and ‘virtual connections’ came up. Shel said, “I hate the term virtual friends, my friends aren’t virtual, they’re real people.”


The issue relates to online interactions and online communities. You might have ‘virtual friends’ or people you interact with only online, but they’re still real people.
Update: Shel talks a bit more about this subject on his blog.


2 Responses to Shel Israel – My Friends Aren’t Virtual

  1. jharr says:

    That’s a powerful statement. I also think that it gets lost in some of the social media shuffle. But it’s also something to remember in the larger ‘web’ scope when it comes to respect and empathy for folks you interact with. From Ebay-to-various fora-to Flikr, it’s odd to step back and realize all of the content, photos, auctions, etc. have real people behind them.

  2. Kristina says:

    We forget that social media links people to people, not computer to computer. It’s interesting that we can cultivate relationships online and may never have face to face interaction- but that doesn’t make the Web relationships any less valid, just different.
    The rate high school reunion attendance has plummeted, due to everyone’s accessibility online. This demonstrates the virtual world’s significant impact on long standing traditions. It’s easy to forget that we engage in conversations with real people, since we are talking through machines. Social media connects every person in the world- that’s a powerful concept.

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