what should I call you?

Thanks to the marvels of social media,  I’ve “met” some really fantastic people in my field via the internet.  Yet, I often find myself searching for words to describe these relationships. These are people I’m connected to through mutual blog subscriptions, twitter follows, maybe even a LinkedIn connection. We’ve exchanged comments and ideas, seem to dig each other’s perspective and world views, yet have never actually met or even had a real conversation.

When I try to tell friends, family, or co-workers about these folks, I don’t have a good word to describe who they are. “Friend” in the traditional sense doesn’t seem to cover it – we don’t know each other that well. I tend to reserve that word for people I’ve known quite a while and I can count on to help me move furniture. “Acquaintance” is someone I know but don’t have a strong connection – I’m needing a word for people I seem to have a strong connection with yet haven’t really met. “Associate”? No. “Colleague”? Sort of, maybe, but not really, so, no. “Mutual Follower”? Sounds pretty cultish – no.

Anyone else facing this problem? What word makes the most sense?

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4 comments

  1. I struggle with this too. I’ve taken to calling people I like through SoMe, friends. Think back to school, when you met those random people for the first time. Some turned into friends because there was a connection. Others didn’t and that’s fine too.

    Hello, friend 🙂

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    1. Sukh! I appreciate your thoughts and it’s good to know I’m not the only one searching to describe these relationships. Your comment reminds me that when my son was in Kindergarten he referred to everyone as his friend – not surprisingly, he had a lot of friends.

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  2. How we come to know each other is less important these days…
    How we want to know each other is down to us to determine…
    What we are to each other is found in our reflection, support and advocacy…

    We don’t need names for these things – they’ll never do us & our relationship justice.

    What should I call you? Nothing works better than a given name and our genuine regard… Good to know you Broc!

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    1. “Given name and our genuine regard…” Love it. Good to know you, too, David. I really enjoy that oceans, continents, and countries apart, like minded people can now discover, connect, and converse with each other as easy (easier?) than if they were in the office next door. Cheers!

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