Rantings of an online junkie: What is a community? Are online friends "Real Friends?"

So as I sit here today in the ventrilo server by buddy Dave hosts, I come to thinking of the question "what is a community?" And can a "gaming community" be as real as a community you might have in your neighborhood?

This line of thinking got me to thinking "Are the people I have become friendly with online qualify as my real friends." Before I go into my thoughts on this, let me give you a little background on why I have pondered this topic for the evening.

Gamehavoc, the gaming community to which I belong, has been my online "home" for close to 3 years. Before that it was Frankenstein CS which became Gamehavoc. Before that, my original home being Chi Mayhem which eventually became FCS. So all in all, I have been around these people in the virtual sense for 5 to 6 years. Yet, I have met very few of them face to face. The only times being for a Gathering which is becoming a tradition at Gamehavoc.

So after that little bit of insight, I came up with the questions listed above and really thought long and hard about them. I came to these conclusions.

  • I talk to these folks just as much as my "real life" friends or people I see every day.
  • I have known many of them for longer than I have known some of my friends.
  • I get insight into their lives and other events through ventrilo, the forums, and other means of communication
  • I have the cell phone numbers of many people within the community and talk to them on a fairly frequent basis.

After coming to these realizations, I can truely say that a gaming community can be as much a community as a neighborhood, a church, or a any other group of people who share common interests. Isn't that what a community is all about after all?

So as you see my answer to the first question, I am sure you can guess my answer to the second. So yes, I believe my online friends, should and are considered as much of friends as the people I see everyday.

Some of these people I am as close to as my normal friends though I only get to see them maybe once a year at the most. They hear bitch and rant and rave about my life as much as anyone other than my wife. They know when I am in a good mood or a bad mood. Hell, they even wish me happy birthday.

So on this wonderful evening in May, I think to myself, I am lucky to have a community to which to belong and I am lucky to have good friends in both "real life" and on the net.

Have a good evening everyone,




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