It’s pretty easy to forge connections nowadays, what with the Twitter, the Book of Faces, the blogs, and the beer checking-in apps. We’re all one #beerchat or reblog or status message away from becoming besties with our new internet friends.
I played World of Warcraft for years in college, partly as a way to avoid doing homework, partly because it was the perfect way to stay in touch with my geographically scattered friends. I could easily hang out with a buddy in Chicago, another in Ann Arbor, another in Harrisonburg, all at the same time, without missing class or spending hundreds of dollars on gas. The internet is the perfect social tool for the chronically lazy.
But I made lots of friends that I hadn’t known offline, and never did meet in person. Even though I never shook the hands connected to those avatars or gave them a big platonic hugs, I consider them legitimate, real friends. I may be part of the first generation to be able to say that; the first generation to master the concept first inked by letter writing pen-pals by adding pictures and video to the conversation.
While those relationships founded on coordinating tweets are great and easy to maintain, the in-person experience of sharing a pint should always be the goal. We’re still mostly human after all, so until the machines replace our brains with circuit boards, nothing will beat that first clink of glasses, that first slurp of suds, that first mutual “ah!” of refreshment.
I had the joy of finally meeting two of my internet friends last Friday. Glasses up to Bryan and Josh; to everyone else out there I have yet to toast, all I can say is: soon.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.