I started talking to people from all over the world almost 13 years ago when I discovered the internet. It was like a dream come true for me: I found my niche in life. Chatting on the internet was the perfect medium for me because I'm not the greatest speaker. I never realized it until then that my fingers could actually talk better than my mouth could. That discovery coupled with my inherent curiosity about people of different cultures turned me into a monster Chataholic.
Those chataholic days are long gone, however. My Pakistani friend, Dilshad, was right. At the height of my chat addiction, I couldn't imagine not being able to chat, but he said "This is just a phase for you." I doubted him because he was "only" in his twenties and I was sure I was twenty years WISER than he. Turns out he was right because I rarely chat anymore. It was wonderful while it lasted and I met dozens of interesting people from all around the world. I even met many in person and guess what: not one weirdo! It certainly changed my attitude and made me less egocentric and less fearful. Despite differences in cultures, people are basically the same around the world.
It cannot be said enough that the internet has revolutionized the world and will hopefully continue to change people for the good and bring cultures together. That may be wishful thinking, but I can hope. Imagine if I weren't the only person to venture into a chatroom and befriend people from Sweden, India, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Holland, etc. etc. I liked to imagine that I was an ambassador from Hawaii, promoting better understanding and friendship.
Much has been said to discourage people from meeting others online, but in my experience there have been far more good stories than bad. As long as you are cautious and don't divulge too much information, talking to others online can be enriching. In my opinion, the people who think the internet is not the place to connect with others have very little experience doing so. After all, you can go out of your house and meet people IN PERSON who have hidden agendas, too. Just read your newspaper and you'll see what's happened to someone who encountered a bad person in their own neighborhood. You may very possibly be safer staying home and talking to people online! *LOL*
I still communicate with many of the people I've met online and they remain "friends at my fingetips"!
Thanks for reading!