By Bob Pearson

Recently I have had cause to reflect on how much the internet has changed the way people interact with one another, and how different all of our lives would be without it. Previously one would make friends with people that one met in day to day life, perhaps through correspondence. Now it is possible to acquire friends from all over the world, and to communicate with them in real time. In my case I spend most of my online time chatting with a couple on Australia or my IM partners in the USA. None of whom I would have met without the internet. A friend of mine recently got married, and one of the guests was a person she had never actually met in person, but whom she had emailed with for many years. On my recent trip through the US, I traveled with one person I had met on the WW1 list, and stayed with three others.

In my hometown, I know of no one else with the specific interest in First World War aircraft that I have, yet I can dial up any number of people with a like interest on ICQ or AIM. Additionally there is a mailing list, forum and numerous websites devoted to them.

The above is the upside of the internet, now for the downside ... contact with real people may be diminished. In my case I spend far too many hours a day at the computer, so it I find it is necessary to take a break and go for a long walk and meet up with real people, if for no other reason than to keep my sanity.

By all means use the internet .. but also get out .. have fun. . . and then go online and tell your friends about it

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