What Is a Friend?
Although I've only just started interacting on line (this is only my 2nd day), I sure believe that internet contacts can be real friends. What is a friend anyway? It is a fellow human being who shares his/her experiences and thoughts with you, who listens to you and who accepts you, cares for you and seeks to encourage you. Maybe (most likely) you'll never get to meet internet friends face to face, but the lack of physical contact does not mean that the relationship is not real.
Besides, sometimes the anonymity of being online can make it easier for people to be 'real' and to put away the masks we often put up in real life for fear of rejection. It also makes it easier to get past the preconceived ideas we sometimes make about people purely on the basis of their appearance.
Surely the ability to share freely and without inhibition lends an authenticity to friendships that may not exist if we have to deal with social awkwardness and external judgments. I think it's great that people can express themselves without fear of rejection and judgment. I hope to be a friend to many, and to make friends with many of you out there!