Strange things have been known to happen. I have always, and I mean, ALWAYS been cynical of 'online friendships'. My personal opinion is that people always project a persona over the anonymous medium of the internet/chat rooms/orkut-ish social networking (read: hunting for pretty pictures) websites/ ryze etc- this persona could be the over-nice, oh-so-perfect person...or the anti-establishment uber-dark-anti-hero kind of image that people consider 'cool'. I have nothing against this, the medium defines the image (before colour photography, i'm sure people stood to the light in a photographer's studio differently from what they did after colour photography.) The eternal interest in portraying yourself better is perfectly understandable and probably even commendable (man is a social animal, so doing things that make you improve your social chances are good. But does that mean conformism is good?? ..hehe..another topic for research) .The internet is also another medium which defines how a person wants to project herself. Why I am cynical is that it is too easy a medium to assume a divergent personality - and make people believe it! and that, I think, is cheating.Strong term you say, but hear me out. When you try to project an 'image' in real life, you work hard towards it, live the life, get into the skin, and yet you'll only pull it off only if you have supressed elements from the personality that you want to be. Also, keep projecting for long and you will start becoming a bit like you want to be.
In the online world on the other hand, you can be four personalities at the same time, depending on which chat window is open. Its like shooting fish in a barrel, too easy. Thats why I say that all four of the chat-window-chatters are being cheated, and hence I hardly ever trust anyone who I've met only virtually.
But, maybe its time to change my thinking, SG, we've only 'met' online, called me this evening. Responding to my incessant cribbing about the Delhi-Bangalore disgruntled-ness (forgive the grammer) , I was told of an opportunity in Delhi. Its good to see people respond the way you expect your 'normal' friends to respond, even if they're just 'virtual' friends.
Maybe there is something to this being friends with people online thing :)