PACIFIC NEWS -- Aug 26 -- Friendster, MySpace, Xanga and Facebook are supposed to keep friends connected, but I see people with about 100 plus "friends." Do they actually know these people? One thing I've noticed about the blogs and personal profiles people post online is how open people are. The friendships I've created in the real world have slowly drifted into blog form. Conversations are short, to the point, and can be edited with the click of a mouse. What's next, catching up on old times at an online bar with virtual drinks? I recommend a support group for this sort of thing. No one should be a flaming addict alone with their computer at 1 in the morning. Nothing good comes out of that, except maybe delusional flashes.
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Mark Brooks: We should remember, online community is indeed 'virtual.' Nothing will ever touch 'face-to-face.' The internet is a great vehicle for managing relationships, even initiating them, but some brow time is needed for real, spiritually uplifting relationships.