Look at these smiling faces. This is a photograph from the recent British Mummy Bloggers meet up at London Zoo.
I would have said that these were my friends. We have been reading each other's blogs for a while. We've left comments and built up an online relationship. I met and chatted to almost all of the thirty bloggers who attended. There was a friendly, excited atmosphere. I had a fabulous time.
Then I read Circle of Trust by the fabulous Josie at Sleep is for the weak. I also read the fifty comments - that took a while! I was going to comment myself, but my comment turned into this post.
Josie poses the question should we trust our online friends?
I initially thought, when I read Josie's post, that perhaps I am naive and far too trusting. I take everyone at face value. It hadn't crossed my mind that any of my online friends may not be who they claim to be.
I have loved making new friends on Twitter and via blogging, I hope these friendships are 'real'. I have found it so easy to make new friends this way, much easier than at Playgroup.
In my experience the people I have chosen to meet in real life have been just as wonderful as their online persona, especially the fabulous Kim.
I've been to two BMB meet-ups now, at London Zoo and at MOSI, and out of the forty or so people that I have met I would say only one was different to her online persona (she was so much nicer in real life)! I also met Josie at MOSI and I can tell you that she is as genuine and lovely offline as she is online.
Did I mention that I went to Downing Street last week? Just in case you were locked in a wardrobe or something, here is my post. This was another example of the power of social media. I met a few people there that I had only spoken to previously online. They're great people.
I guess you have to exercise the same judgement that you would in real life.
Having said all of the above, I have had one bad experience. I have hinted at it here and here. I met my ex online and he turned out to be a big fat hairy liar. Lying was one of his more likeable personality traits.
Amazing really that I tried internet dating again. The second time I tried it I met Andy, my husband. I will have to write about our eight hour first date at some point! Absolute proof that not everyone you meet online is a weirdo!
So, are we friends?
Photo credit: A Modern Mother