The Internet saved my social life! I moved to HI for a job, leaving all my friends and family behind in OH. I loved the atmosphere here on the islands, and I reveled in finally being able to â€œblend in,â€ both physically and culturally (Iâ€™m South Asian) in comparison to other places I had lived on the Mainland. Being a single young female, I didnâ€™t feel comfortable wandering around by myself in a new place, and it was difficult for me to meet people through work, since there was a large age gap between my colleagues and myself. Also, being new I didnâ€™t know where all one could go socially to meet people. (I have a TERRIBLE sense of direction, lol!) I turned to the Internet for help.
I can now honestly say that most of my friends here on Oahu are due to the Internet, and as I had suspected and planned, getting my foot through the social door allowed me to later meet further people through more â€œtraditionalâ€ social avenues. Two of the three guys I dated in HI I met through the Internet, including the one Iâ€™ve been dating for almost two years now. Since there is still a bit of social stigma attached to meeting people online, my boyfriend and I will sometimes â€œfudge the truthâ€ with certain people. (We tell them we met in a restaurant, which is true, but only after meeting online initially and chatting and emailing back and forth first! If it is left up to me, however, I have no trouble with saying we met online.) In fact, my boyfriend and I are even adopted our bengal kittens togetherâ€”and yup, we found them through the Internet too!
As a result of my experiences, I started an online group, â€œThe Newcomerâ€™s Ohana,â€ though the name is misleading (many of the members are life-long or long-time Oahu residents). Itâ€™s for 20- and 30-somethings on the island who want to expand their social horizons, a â€œplaceâ€ where people can get together to meet others offline and invite others to interesting happenings they know about going on Oahu, as well as a â€œplaceâ€ to ask for advice. My group even got mentioned in the newspaper because of a martini party I threw, whichâ€”you guessed itâ€”was primarily organized via Internet.
Hereâ€™s a link to the article:http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/a...2/il/il01a.html
For me the Internet was a valuable social stepping stone and still is an important social tool I use to reach out and connect to others I might not otherwise meet. As with any social avenue, one must exercise certain precautions, but that the nature of any endeavor involving humans, unfortunately. I'm not saying that the Internet is for everyone, but for those who give it a shot, who actually take the "next step" and choose to meet "offline," it can be a life-changing experience (both good or bad).
The Internet is also is a great way to keep up with my friends and family back in OH--if I see them online I can save myself the expense of a costly phone bill, as well saving myself the worry that I woke them up or caught them at a bad time.
I guess there are a few people with whom I'd prefer to keep the Internet friendship simply that--an online thing only--but that's usually due to distance or a knowledge that hugely differing viewpoints on issues/lifestyles, while making for a good online debate, would make hanging out socially a negative experience offline. Other times, it's nice to have someone to talk to who understands or shares your perspective (or who can offer you a perspective you'd never considered before!) but who doesn't know you personally and therefore can feel comfortable telling you things honestly to your face that your "real" friends won't because they fear hurting your feelings or who might see certain truths to your situation because they are so far removed from your life.
Just my two cents on the Internet as a people-connector!