Second Life is a wonderful life, a world – a place to make friends, expand your social life and develop relationships. It is there when you login and so are your online friends.
People you will probably never meet in real life, but friends nonetheless. Friends you tell stuff you might never tell your real life friends, conversations and experiences you might never get to enjoy in real life.
Hence, online friends – to me – are real friends. Even if we never get to meet face to face.
When an online friend disappears, this causes stress and worries. Well, it does for me. I have been online and in Second Life long enough to have experienced the sudden and total disappearing of a few online friends, and when this happens..it is hard to deal with.
For one, it is not easy to talk about it in real life, as people who are not familiar with your online social Second Life might just give you the weird look and tell you to shrug it off. After all, you have never met this online friend, so how tough can it be?
Tough. Very tough.
I am not talking about the friend you got into arguments with and who blocked/muted/unfriended you (or vice versa). Nor is it about the friend who told you they were taking some time off from Second Life, to take care of real life matters. And it is not even about the friend who passed away in real life and of who you therefore know they will not come back.
Those ‘disappearances’ have a reason and ultimately they get proper closure.
The ‘unexpected disappeared online friend’ is something else. The person you chatted with just the other night and who then stopped logging in. Stopped blogging. Stopped updating whatever Social Media they used and who is not responding to your emails.
One day you see them online, the next ..it is all over, to not been seen ever again. Vanished. You keep them on your friends list, keep checking their blog/Flickr/Facebook (if they had that) and as time goes by, all you keep seeing is that last update and nothing more. You do some Google search, ask around at mutual friends, but when time goes by…you still worry and wonder, but eventually you move on.
You don’t check their profile weekly or monthly anymore. There comes a moment you realise you haven’t checked their blog etc for months…and yet, they are on your friends list. The ‘always offline’ friend. And you wonder. And hope they are okay and life is good for them.
And you miss them.
I hate open ends like this.
(pics shot at Memento Mori)